Merkel: EU will retaliate against Trump tariffs

Merkel left lobbied Trump not to impose tariffs on European vehicle exports to the U.S

A picture of U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel displaying less-than-friendly body language is turning out to be a defining image of the contentious meeting of the Group of Seven leaders of the world's advanced economies.

The center-right leader said a tariff-free area among G7 allies would be an ideal outcome, but she made clear that any talks about such a trade bloc would have to include non-tariff barriers to trade as well as free access to public tenders.

"The withdrawal, so to speak, via a Tweet, is of course... sobering and a bit depressing", Merkel said in a television interview after the summit.

USA trading partners are furious over Trump's decision last week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico as part of his "America First" agenda.

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Angela Merkel's press team quickly tweeted out the incredible image showing the German, surrounded by her allies, cowering over a scowling and seated Donald Trump, which instantly went viral. "And they understand it's going to happen", Trump said.

The G7 summit took place over two days in Charlevoix, Quebec.

It shows a standing Mrs Merkel, hands firmly planted on a table, staring down at USA president Donald Trump, who is seated with his arms folded. When asked if she was concerned that Trump could retaliate against EU counter-measures by imposing tariffs on European-made and designed cars, Merkel added, "First of all, we'll try and see if we can prevent this..."

President Trump left the meeting half-way, warning the G7 nations that if they don't remove trade barriers with the US, they will face consequences. Highlighting that the document is still "legally-binding" as far as Germany is concerned, Merkel said she would uphold it but her patience after Trump's about-face had worn thin.

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Nearly 18 months into Trump's presidency, Merkel's comments offered renewed evidence of Germany's struggle to adapt to an upended relationship with the US.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday warned both Trump and the European Union of the dangers of entering a tit-for-tat trade war over tariffs, urging both sides to instead focus on China's excess steel production.

The G7 nations are Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy.

Russian Federation has been shut out since its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, and has since earned Western condemnation for its military intervention in Syria in support of dictator Bashar al-Assad. Merkel said that while she could imagine such a scenario in the future, Moscow would first have to make progress in putting forth a viable peace plan for the country, Reuters reported.

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