Europe will act against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum: Merkel

Vastavam web: Europe will implement counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum just like Canada, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, voicing regret about President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw support for a G7 communique. Trump’s announcement on Twitter, after leaving the Group of Seven summit in Canada early, that he was backing out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

The summit did not mark the end of the transatlantic partnership between Europe and the U.S., Merkel said. But she repeated that Europe could no longer rely on its ally and should take its fate into its own hands.“So we won’t let ourselves be ripped off again and again. Instead, we act then too,” Merkel said in an unusually combative tone. Asked if she was concerned that Trump could retaliate against EU counter-measures by imposing tariffs on cars, Merkel said: “First of all, we’ll try and see if we can prevent this… And then hope that the EU will respond again in the same unity. ”The center-right leader said a tariff-free area among G7 allies would be an ideal outcome, but she made clear that any talks about such a trade bloc would have to include non-tariff barriers to trade as well as free access to public tenders.

Turning to Russia, Merkel said she could imagine Moscow re-joining the G7 format at some point, but there first had to be progress in the implementation of the peace plan for Ukraine. Merkel said she expected Italy’s new coalition government to vote for the extension of European sanctions against Russia. Touching the thorny issue of Germany’s relatively low defense spending, Merkel acknowledged that Trump’s criticism was partly correct and that Berlin had to do more to reach NATO’s goal of spending to 2 percent of economic output on defense.