May 12, 2018 / 1:12 AM / 2 months ago

No trade war with Germany, U.S. ambassador promises

BERLIN (Reuters) - The new U.S. ambassador to Germany said the row over Washington’s planned imposition of punitive tariffs on European goods would not trigger a trade war, adding that President Donald Trump only wanted “a level playing field”.

In an interview with the Funke newspaper group, Richard Grenell insisted that the United States was awaiting proposals on how punitive tariffs could be averted.

“Germans are doing a phenomenal job on trade,” he said. “There will be no trade war ... We are talking with our friends to solve a problem.”

The United States wanted to see Europe’s proposals before deciding what would follow the expiry of an already extended June 1 deadline to impose tariffs, he added.

Less than a week into the job, Grenell has already triggered headlines with his demand in a tweet that German companies in Iran should “wind down operations” immediately after Trump withdrew the United States from an international nuclear deal.

In the interview, Grenell maintained the hard line on Iran that has caused dismay in Europe’s capitals, restating the U.S. government’s position that Europe must reimpose sanctions on Iran.

“We expect our friends and allies to help us to bring Iran back to the negotiating table,” he said, adding that the United States had proof Iran had violated its commitment not to enrich uranium.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt

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