The EU and U.S. should reach a “reasonable compromise” to resolve tensions over trade “by summer,” according to Germanys new economy minister, Peter Altmaier.
Altmaier made the comments in an interview with Germanys Der Spiegel after U.S. President Donald Trump handed the EU an exemption, until May 1, from his punitive tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Trump will then reconsider the tariffs, leaving EU governments in a limbo over future trade relations.
The European Commission has said that it would retaliate to U.S. tariffs by slapping their own levies on American products like Harley Davidson motorcycles and Levis jeans.
But Altmaier believes the EU will avoid a trade war with the U.S., insisting that hes “confident that the EU and the US can come to a reasonable compromise by summer.”
The two trading blocs will instead aim to work closer together to curb overcapacity in the international steel market caused by China, the economy minister said.
“We are looking for a unified line in the fight against dumping and theft of intellectual property, and we want to find solutions that are compatible with international trade rules,” Altmaier said.
In the interview, the minister said Germany will work to fulfill its commitment to boost its military spending to 2 percent of the countrys economic output, as part of its obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“I have assured my interlocutors in Washington that I will also work as Minister of Economic Affairs for this goal,” Altmaier said.