EU Should Table Offer To Secure Lower Tariffs With US: Minister
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday the European Union should present an offer to the United States to secure lower tariffs on a broad spectrum of goods.
"I'm in favour of us Europeans putting an offer on the table," Altmaier told a business conference in Berlin, adding he would prefer lowering overall tariffs than raising them on a broad spectrum of goods.
On Wednesday, European leaders sought unity toward threatened U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminium, balancing the views of those most fearful of a trade war and those determined not to be bullied into concessions.
U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium on grounds of national security, but granted EU producers a temporary exemption until June 1 pending the outcome of talks.
French President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders, who meet for a summit in Bulgaria from Wednesday, have said the bloc will not negotiate with a gun held to its head. Donald Tusk, who chairs the summits, said on Wednesday EU unity was key.
'Stick To Our Guns'
"Here again, unity is our greatest strength and my objective is simple - we stick to our guns," Tusk told a news conference. "This means a permanent exemption from U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the U.S.
"The EU and U.S. are friends and partners. Therefore U.S. tariffs cannot be justified on the basis of national security. It is absurd to even think that the EU could be a threat to the United States."