March 23, 2018 / 8:07 AM / 4 months ago

France, Germany and Britain praise Trump rethink on Europe tariffs

PARIS (Reuters) - Germany, France and Britain said on Friday they were happy that U.S. President Donald Trump had changed his mind about slapping higher tariffs on European steel.

FILE PHOTO: German Economic Minister Peter Altmaier walks after delivering a statement regarding the Trump Administration's steel and aluminum tariffs outside of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2018. REUTERS/ Leah Millis

EU leaders meeting in Brussels were awaiting details of a move that could avert a trade war between the European Union and the United States.

Washington said on Thursday tariffs would be suspended for the EU, the United States’ biggest trading partner, and for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea. The tariffs are suspended until May 1 as discussions continue.

“Europe had clearly stated its intention to riposte and enter a trade war...It’s a good thing that President Trump changed his mind on the tariff increases,” French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio: “I am very pleased that we have avoided a situation for the German steel and aluminum industry and its workers that could have led to great uncertainty.”

“We don’t want further unilateral measures; rather we want sensible agreements,” he added. “Our goal is that at the end of these talks, the international trade architecture must be more stable - there must be more cooperation, not less.”

British Prime Minister Theresa, in Brussels, also hailed the U.S. move.

European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, a Frenchman, hailed the move too, saying: “This is progress...let’s keep talking.”

FILE PHOTO: European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici holds a news conference at the EU Commission's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Reporting by Brian Love and Mathieu Rosemain in Paris, Paul Carrel and Georg Merziger in Berlin and Jan Strupczewski in Brussels; Editing by David Goodman

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