BERLIN European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned in a newspaper interview that a trade war between the United States and Europe would not be good for either.
Asked by Bild am Sonntag newspaper whether Europe could withstand a trade war with the United States, Juncker said: "A trade war would neither be in Europe's nor the USA's interests."
He said it was necessary to take protectionist comments being made by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration seriously and also to be prepared.
On Thursday U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration had no desire to get into trade wars but certain trade relationships needed to be re-examined to make them fairer.
Juncker said he was pleased that he would be meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, adding: "We want to conclude a free trade deal between the EU and Japan this year."
Trump has accused Japan of exploiting a weak yen to give its exports an unfair trade advantage. In similar vein, Trump's top trade adviser has accused Germany of using a "grossly undervalued" euro to gain a competitive advantage.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)