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Germany's Merkel still hopes for talks on U.S. tariffs

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe must be ready to respond to the unilateral imposition of trade tariffs by the United States but she first hoped for talks on the issue.

U.S. President Donald Trump set import tariffs on Thursday of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, to come into force in 15 days, though Washington opened the way to some exemptions the following day after pressure from allies.

“If this unilateral action cannot be avoided, then we must think about how we can respond in a reciprocal fashion but I am first of all focusing on talks and there will be plenty of opportunities for them,” Merkel told a news conference.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Andrea Shalal