June 19, 2017 / 6:54 PM / a year ago

Germany writes to U.S. to criticize plans to act against steel imports

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries has written a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in which she criticized Washington’s plans to take action against steel imports, a German newspaper reported.

German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Brigitte Zypries speaks during an interview with Reuters in Berlin, Germany June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos

An investigation by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration into whether foreign-made steel imports pose a risk to U.S. national security is nearly done, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. The probe’s findings are expected to be released later this week.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Zypries also addressed her letter to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and said she was concerned that initial indications suggested the report “could find that steel imports - including from the EU - threaten U.S. national security”.

She added: “We’ve also heard that duties or quotas are due to be imposed to reduce imports.”

From Germany’s perspective there are no indications that European or German steel imports could threaten or adversely affect U.S. national security, Zypries wrote.

She also warned that other countries could understand the U.S.’s course of action as an “invitation”, adding: “That would open the door to protectionist measures.”

The U.S. administration says the lack of domestic producers could impede defense procurement for its armed forces as well as for strategically important infrastructure.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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