German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called for further diplomatic negotiations to resolve the international trade conflict unleashed by the protectionist policies of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Speaking to radio station Deutschlandfunk, Altmaier acknowledged that Germany currently ran a trade surplus with the United States, but said Berlin could not simply promise that exports from its national firms would fall. Instead, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician recommended the European Union (EU) make a “concrete” offer to Washington that includes mutual tariff reductions.
The EU has already prepared a host of retaliatory measures in response to the potential economic threat posed by the U.S. administration’s “America First” doctrine. Altmaier said the bloc would now “decide together” whether EU tariffs on U.S. products like bourbon whiskey and Harley-Davidson motorbikes would actually take effect.
Altmaier’s comments came shortly after the federal government warned that the EU would most likely become subject to new U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel from May 1 onwards. Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have failed to persuade Trump to extend an exemption currently enjoyed by the bloc during recent visits to Washington.—Xinhua