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Germany urges European unity in face of trade tensions with U.S.

Reuters  |  BERLIN 

By Andrea Shalal

BERLIN (Reuters) - German called on Friday for to remain unified in the face of rising trade tensions with the United States, saying it was unclear how a summit of the rich nations would end.

"We have a serious situation, not just since last night or this morning, but rather the entire last few weeks," Altmaier told broadcaster

He underlined the importance of European unity on free trade and economic interests, especially since domestic debate was continuing in the about punitive sanctions imposed by on allies like Canada, and the

Leaders of nations meeting in from Friday are more divided than at any time in the group's 42-year history, with Trump's "America First" policies at risk of causing a global trade war and deep diplomatic schisms.

Trump has already imposed hefty tariffs on and aluminum imports and threatened to do the same for cars. His decisions to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with and a global climate change accord have also fueled tensions.

Altmaier said the EU had long resisted imposing tariffs of its own but had shown it would do so if left with no other choice.

European leaders remained committed to continuing the dialogue with the if both sides were willing to make concessions, he said, although there was no sign of that at the moment.

A also expressed concern. Joe Kaeser, Siemens, warned against deepening the transatlantic trade dispute. "Escalation was never a good answer. That's why we must try to find areas of agreement," he said in

German said the remained Germany's closest partner outside However, there were significant differences that could not be ignored, and needed new partnerships, he told the

He took aim at Trump's actions on the deal, trade and climate change, saying the was willfully ignoring the negative consequences that his decisions would have on Europe and focusing solely on U.S. interests.

"None of that will make the world better, safer or more peaceful," he told the newspaper. "We were used to relying on what had been agreed. That has fundamentally changed."

Maas called for creation of a European security council, an idea backed by Angela Merkel, and said ending the current requirement for unanimous decisions on foreign policy and security issues would make the EU more agile.

Maas also called for Europe to forge alliances with other regions, including countries in Africa, and

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by and David Stamp)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 08 2018. 13:59 IST
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