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Merkel says protectionism is not the answer to U.S. tariffs

BERLIN, March 14 (Reuters) - The European Union will try to
secure an exemption from planned U.S. steel and aluminium
tariffs, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday,
adding that protectionism is not the right approach to
international trade.

Merkel, sworn in for a fourth term in office earlier on
Wednesday, said she saw a "crisis of multilateralism" which the
EU could best respond to by firstly putting on a united front,
and secondly by talking to the United States.

"And thirdly, no angst if it is necessary - which we don't
want to be the case - for measures to be taken," she told German
broadcaster ARD. "But firstly we are focusing on talks."

The EU expects to be excluded from the U.S. tariffs but will
go to the World Trade Organization to impose its own measures if
Washington presses ahead, EU officials have said.

"We will try to achieve that. I can't say beforehand whether
that will work or not. We have always said we want fair trade on
the basis of WTO agreements," Merkel said.

"In our, European view, in my view, in Germany's view
protectionism is not the right answer," she added.
(Writing by Paul Carrel
Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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