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Germany sees United States imposing tariffs on European Union from May 1

27 April 2018

"From today's perspective, we must assume that the tariffs will come on May 1", when an exemption period ends, said a German government source on the eve of Washington talks between US President Donald Trump and Merkel.

"Will he insult, via his Twitter account, the female chancellor of Germany?"

Speaking to the newspaper "Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger" on Thursday, Peter Beyer, the coordinator for transatlantic cooperation in the German Foreign Office highlighted that Merkel was most likely to succeed in altering Trump's stance on trade by working together with French President Emmanuel Macron.

German media cited government sources warning that an extension of the European Union's (EU) current exclusion from new US tariffs on aluminum and steel imports was unlikely be achieved prior to the lapse of the current agreement on May 1.

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"There is a special responsibility that all U.S. officials have to reject partisan politics when they take government service jobs", he said. But Trump and Merkel are still holding a joint news conference and taking questions from reporters.

"We will ask Germany to step up on burden-sharing", the official said, adding that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation needed to be strong and prepared to address a host of major foreign policy issues including Syria, Iran, China and Russian Federation.

Aware of the optics, anxious German diplomats pressed - in vain - for Merkel to enjoy a similarly meaty two days at the White House, betting the face time would help sweeten hard relations, officials told AFP.

This will be Merkel's second trip to Washington, D.C., since Trump became president and her first since being re-elected last month as chancellor. He said she looked like Justin Bieber in another tweet.

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The United States sees the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would double the existing pipeline's annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres, as a threat to Europe's energy security. "Macron is closer to Trump on a personal level" Beyer said.

On Wednesday, he called on the United States not to abandon the Iran deal as Western envoys said Britain, France and Germany were nearing agreeing a package they hope could persuade Trump to save the pact.

"How harshly the whole thing will unfold might depend on to what extent Merkel can steer the conversation in the direction of trade and Iran", Jan Techau, a director at The German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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Germany sees United States imposing tariffs on European Union from May 1