June 1, 2018 / 1:07 AM / 3 months ago

U.S. tariff move breaks international law: German finance minister

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The U.S. decision to impose tariffs on Canadian, EU and Mexican steel and aluminum flies in the face of international law, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.

The U.S. administration said earlier it would move ahead with import tariffs on some of its closest allies, ending months of uncertainty about potential exemptions.

“This is not a good day for trans-Atlantic relations,” Scholz said on his way to a meeting with his G7 counterparts in the Canadian ski resort town of Whistler, British Columbia.

“This one-sided decision is wrong and in my view against international law,” Scholz said, stressing the importance of supporting a rules-based system for free trade.

He said that the European Union would react “strongly and wisely”, coordinating among EU countries and the bloc’s partners.

Scholz said that the EU was prepared to talk about tariffs in general with the United States, but only once Washington had granted permanent exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs.

Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sandra Maler

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