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Merkel says open to principle of reciprocity in trade policy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference in Berlin, Germany, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she was open to a proposal by France’s new President Emmanuel Macron to create a level playing field between European Union countries and other international trade partners.

Asked during a joint news conference if she was worried that Macron’s push for a “Buy European Act” could undermine the established order of free and open trade, Merkel said: “In trade relations, for example, I see this element of reciprocity, this is something I can very well imagine.”

Merkel added that the German government had already asked the European Commission to look into the possibility of protecting investments in strategic areas on a European level and not only through national regulation.

A source close to Macron had said before the meeting he would seek to convince Merkel to back his “protection agenda” for Europe which includes a “Buy European Act” and regulations to prevent strategic firms from falling into non-European hands.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Paul Carrel