March 5, 2018 / 11:33 AM / a year ago

Germany wants to avoid a trade war - govt spokesman

BERLIN, March 5 (Reuters) - Germany wants to avoid a trade war with the United States, believing that such a conflict would be in nobody’s interest, but Europe will respond appropriately to any punitive tariffs the Trump administration imposes, a government spokesman said.

Responding to criticisms by U.S. President Donald Trump that the European Union levies high tariffs on some U.S. goods, spokesman Steffen Seibert said the same went for some European goods like tobacco and trucks.

“The U.S. also protects its companies from international competition in many areas with Buy American rules,” Seibert said. “So it makes very little sense to compare tariffs on individual products.”

He said Germany would consult carefully with France, the European Commission - which is responsible for EU trade policy - and other partners on appropriate responses, but added that Germany was in favour of lowering tariffs in the interest of opens markets and free trade. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt Editing by Michelle Martin)

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