BERLIN, April 26 (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries had a “very constructive” phone discussion with her U.S. counterpart, Wilbur Ross, about steel and tariffs, a ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The upbeat comments came shortly after Zypries said Berlin was getting signals from Washington that the new U.S. administration would not impose a disputed duty on imports.
U.S. proposals presented on Tuesday to revamp the tax system did not include a so-called border-adjustment tax on imports, a massive relief for German exporters.
“The telephone conversation of Minister Zypries and her colleague Wilbur Ross was very constructive,” the economy ministry spokeswoman said, adding both exchanged their views on how to cooperate closely and trustingly on economic issues.
“The topics steel, tariffs, G20 and China were also raised during the telephone conversation,” the spokeswoman said. Both minister agreed to extend their discussion when Zypries travels to the U.S. next month.
Relations between Germany and the United States were strained after President Donald Trump threatened German carmakers with a import tariff of up to 35 percent, arguing that would bring back manufacturing jobs onto American soil.
The U.S. Department of Commerce last month issued a final finding that European and Asian producers dumped certain carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate in the U.S. market, allowing it to impose duties ranging from 3.62 percent to 148 percent.
Among those affected are German, Austrian, Belgian, French and Italian companies. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has urged the European Union to consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation against the United States over the steel plate row. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Larry King)