The EU will act against U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel: Angela Merkel

In an unusual combative move, here is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the G7 summit in Canada.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced regret vis-a-vis U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw support for a G7 communique.

On Sunday, Trump’s tweet stating that he was leaving the G7 summit in Canada earlier than planned and was backing out of a joint communique left no doubts as to the fragile consensus of a trade dispute between the U.S. and its time-tested European allies.

Following Trump’s tweet, Merkel made it lucidly clear that Europe, just like Canada, will implement counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel.

“The withdrawal, so to speak, via tweet is of course … sobering and a bit depressing,” said Merkel in a television interview following the G7 summit.

Significantly, the G7 summit did not mark the end of the transatlantic partnership between Europe and the U.S., said Merkel while clarifying that Europe should now take its fate into its own hands since it could no longer rely on the United States.

Mirroring Canada’s move, the EU is preparing to take counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, in line with World Trade Organisation rules, said Merkel.

She went on to add, “So we won’t let ourselves be ripped off again and again. Instead, we act then too”.

When asked on concerns whether Trump could retaliate against EU’s countermeasures by imposing tariffs on EU’s cars exports to the U.S., 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.”

Summing up, one of the outcomes of the summit, Merkel said, the “G7 leaders had agreed to review their trade ties and assess the scope of existing tariffs in order to avoid further trade barriers.”

Merkel also mentioned, she could see Russia re-joining the G7 format at some point of time, but before that, there needs to be some progress in the implementation of the peace plan for Ukraine.

In 2014, following its annexation of Crimea, Russia was removed from the G8.

Acknowledging Trump’s assertion that countries in the EU need to raise their defense spending levels, she said Trump’s criticism was partly correct and Germany had to do more to reach NATO’s goal of spending 2% of its GDP on defense.

“Trump is in a way right. And that’s why we need to increase our defense spending,” said Merkel.

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