Merkel warns over trade issues ahead of 'tough' G7 talks

Leroy Wright
June 9, 2018

The chancellor said she would go into the June 8-9 summit "with goodwill" and pledged to preserve the trade and climate conclusions agreed at last year's G7 and G20 summits, amid growing worldwide tensions following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Merkel told the German Bundestag (German parliament) on Wednesday that there is a serious problem with multilateral agreements and that is why there will be controversies, particularly on worldwide trade, climate protection and development policies.

"A format that is explicitly based on respecting global law is not viable for Russian Federation at present", she said, adding that Germany maintains frequent diplomatic contact with the Kremlin.

She noted that, in the meantime, the US has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement, as well as imposing tariffs on allies' steel and aluminum imports.

The first question came from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is now Germany's main opposition.

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Just days before the G7 in La Malbaie, Quebec, begins on Friday, Merkel said Germany hoped to at least preserve the progress made at last year's summit.

But there "must not be a compromise for the sake of a compromise", she told lawmakers, saying there was "no sense in papering over divisions". Lawmaker Hansjörg Müller asked if Merkel, who has been a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, planned to engage more closely with Moscow.

Merkel said she will try to discuss problems such as Iran and tariffs with President Donald Trump.

She also noted that Germany has sought to keep in frequent contact with Russian Federation, but said "a format that is explicitly based on respecting worldwide law is not viable for Russian Federation at present".

Merkel said in Berlin Thursday that, as long as there is no fundamental United Nations reform, "we should, whenever a European member state gets a non-permanent United Nations seat. coordinate these seats Europe-wide and make them practically European seats".

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