German minister: US trade officials 'open to our arguments'

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German minister: US trade officials 'open to our arguments'
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier arrives for the first regular weekly cabinet meeting of Germany's new government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s economy minister says he found officials in Washington “open to our arguments” when he visited to try and avert steel and aluminum tariffs against the European Union.

Germany’s Peter Altmaier and EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom both visited Washington this week to seek an exemption. President Donald Trump’s tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum take effect Friday, but he temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico.

On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said some countries won’t have to pay the tariffs while they try to negotiate exemptions. The administration is negotiating with the EU, South Korea, Argentina and Australia.

Altmaier told Germany’s parliament Thursday “it is a question of fundamental significance: whether we all stand for open and fair world markets in the future.”