Germany's Scholz urges EU to avoid escalation in U.S.-EU trade disputes

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is pictured in his office during an interview with Reuters in Berlin, Germany, October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Friday said European Union officials were working intensively behind the scenes to hammer out a trade agreement with the United States and avert threatened tariffs, and he hoped a deal could be reached.

Scholz, asked about new U.S. tariffs on EU cheese, wine and other imports that took effect on Friday, told reporters he favored a calm approach that did not further escalate tensions with Washington. “I think it will work at the end of the day,” he said at a joint news conference with Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings.

Both officials welcomed news of an agreement on Britain’s exit from the European Union and a tentative U.S.-China trade deal as positive developments that could help boost reduce uncertainty, bolster companies’ willingness to invest and strengthen the world economy.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alex Richardson