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Europeans keep out hope for discussion with US over tariffs

BERLIN (AP) — European officials said Friday they hope to engage the U.S. in talks on the new tariffs it has imposed on the EU, but are ready to respond with taxes on American goods if needed.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the U.S. government is “going down the path of confrontation,” after the Trump administration slapped hefty taxes on EU goods.

The U.S. imposed the tariffs after getting approval from the World Trade Organization over European subsidies for plane-maker Airbus. The EU is expecting a similar ruling over U.S. subsidies for Boeing that would allow it to set tariffs on American goods.

“The EU must react and probably raise punitive tariffs itself after WTO approval,” Maas wrote on Twitter, in an apparent reference to a similar WTO case involving Boeing.

Maas, however, said that the EU “remains prepared to jointly negotiate rules for subsidies to the aircraft industry.”

“We can still avert further damage,” he wrote.

The U.S. tariffs do not go into effect before Oct. 18, leaving some space for negotiations.

The Spanish government echoed that hope.

Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas said, “there is still a margin for negotiation.”

“The government of Spain will bring to bear all the pressure (it can),” he said.

Planas said Spain was going to push the European Commission to have the agricultural products removed from the American list.

He said the government would be supporting its producers of olive oil, olives, pork products and cheese, among the businesses most vulnerable to the U.S. tariffs.

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