Merkel says open to international talks on slashing car tariffs

Noting that the EU will negotiate as a bloc, Merkel said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker would be heading to Washington for talks in a bid to head off a trade war with the US.

Merkel says open to international talks on slashing car tariffs

World Bulletin / News Desk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she would back opening talks with trading partners on lowering automobile tariffs, in what appeared to be an olive branch to US President Donald Trump as the EU battles to dissuade him from imposing hefty levies on European cars.

But Merkel said that any negotiations on lowering tariffs in one area could only be conducted with "all the countries with which we have trade in cars," rather than just with the United States.

A deal with the US alone "would not conform with WTO" rules, she said.

"We can either have negotiations about a wide range of tariffs, for 90 percent of goods," Merkel said in a reference to the stalled talks for a transatlantic free-trade deal known as TTIP.

"Or we can talk about one type of goods, but then we must accord the same treatment to all trading partners of the world. That's an option I could imagine," she added.

Merkel's offer came after US ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, hosted bosses of Germany's biggest car firms for talks on Wednesday when he called on the EU to bring tariffs to zero on car imports -- in exchange for equal treatment by the US.

A European source speaking on condition of anonymity said the bloc's Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem in a meeting with EU ambassadors "mentioned among options being studied a multilateral deal on cars".

Such an accord would include the EU, China, Mexico, Japan, Canada and South Korea, added the source.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Temmuz 2018, 18:09