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Merkel: EU will act against U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminium

Reuters  |  BERLIN 

By Michael Nienaber

(Reuters) - will implement counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on and aluminium just like Canada, German said on Sunday, voicing regret about Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw support for a communique.

Trump's announcement on Twitter, after leaving the summit in early, that he was backing out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between and its top allies.

"The withdrawal, so to speak, via tweet is of course ... sobering and a bit depressing," Merkel said in an ARD television interview following the summit.

The summit did not mark the end of the transatlantic partnership between and the U.S., Merkel said. But she repeated that could no longer rely on its ally and should take its fate into its own hands.

Like Canada, the is preparing counter-measures against U.S. tariffs on and aluminium imports, in line with rules, Merkel said.

"So we won't let ourselves be ripped off again and again. Instead, we act then too," Merkel said in an unusually combative tone.

Asked if she was concerned that Trump could retaliate against EU counter-measures by imposing tariffs on cars, 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."

Merkel said the leaders had agreed to review their trade ties and assess the scope of existing tariffs in order to avoid further trade barriers.

The centre-right leader said a tariff-free area among G7 allies would be an ideal outcome, but she made clear that any talks about such a trade bloc would have to include non-tariff barriers to trade as well as free access to public tenders.

Turning to Russia, Merkel said she could imagine re-joining the G7 format at some point, but there first had to be progress in the implementation of the peace plan for

was pushed out of what was then the after it annexed Crimea from in 2014.

Merkel said she expected Italy's new coalition government to vote for the extension of European sanctions against

Touching the thorny issue of Germany's relatively low defence spending, Merkel acknowledged that Trump's criticism was partly correct and that had to do more to reach NATO's goal of spending to 2 percent of economic output on defence.

"Trump is in a way right. And that's why we need to increase our defence spending," Merkel said.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, additional reporting by Andreas Rinke, editing by Larry King)

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

First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 09:25 IST