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Germany Says EU Won’t “Cave In” to US Threats

After US President Donald Trump called the European Union a “foe” with regard to trade, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Europe could not rely on the US president
The Trump administration has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the 28-nation European Union  and is threatening tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts—a key industry for Germany.The Trump administration has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the 28-nation European Union  and is threatening tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts—a key industry for Germany.

Germany’s foreign minister says European countries won’t cave in to US threats in the escalating trans-Atlantic dispute over tariffs, but he hopes for a solution.

The Trump administration has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the 28-nation European Union and is threatening tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts—a key industry for Germany. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker visits Washington on Wednesday. AP reported.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told ARD television on Tuesday that he hopes it will be possible to find a consensus solution.

But he added: “We won’t let ourselves be threatened and just cave in because, if we do that once, I fear that we will have to deal with such behavior very often in the future, and we won’t accept that.”

“It is good that Jean-Claude Juncker will be in Washington tomorrow to talk and to seek a solution but we are not heading to negotiations with a pistol at our chest. I don’t think threats bring us closer to a solution,” Maas said.

“We in Europe must stick together...I hope that we succeed in resolving this via consensus but we will not be threatened and climb down so easily,” he said.

Trump has complained about higher duties applied by the European Union on car imports and has described the bloc as a trade “foe”.

EU officials say that while EU import duties for cars are heavier than those applied by the United States, the US rates for other products, including trucks, are higher. They say cutting duties for cars can only be part of a broader trade deal.

“In the end, all sides would lose, also the Americans,” he said, adding he hoped that US officials would realize this.

Relations Turn Sour

The relations between Germany and the US have been affected following Donald Trump’s trade war against Europe. Last Monday, after Trump called the European Union a “foe” with regard to trade, Maas said Europe could not rely on the US president.

Maas said that Europe can “no longer rely on the White House”. He also said that the continent must not let itself be divided, “however sharp the verbal attacks and absurd the tweets may be.”

Trump’s trade war has resulted in realignment of political forces in Europe and Asia. China and Germany have decided to shake hands in their common trade war with the US.

And amidst the trade war, many countries, including Germany and China, have thrown their weight behind Iran and denounced America’s bullying tactics and saber-rattling after the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and embarked on an economic offensive against Iran.

Earlier this month, French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire also said that “war has already started” between the US and Europe, highlighting the trade policies of the White House. “Our reaction should be united and strong to show that Europe is a united and sovereign power,” the French minister said.

European leaders are also at odds with the White House over Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement.

In June 2017, Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris agreement. Every other nation in the world had signed the agreement, isolating the US entirely, as of November.

The Trump administration also stepped away from the Iran nuclear agreement and promised the “strongest sanctions in history” against the Islamic Republic in May. European leaders scrambled to salvage the agreement, working with Iran as well as Russia and China.

French leaders have been particularly critical of the Trump administration’s policies. As world leaders arrived at the Group of Seven summit in Canada last month, French President Emmanuel Macron took a shot at Washington’s new policies, suggesting the group of wealthy nations do not need the support of the US moving forward.

“The six countries of the G7 without the United States are a bigger market taken together than the American market,” Macron said. “We don’t mind being six, if need be.”

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