BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union wants to avoid a trade war with the United States but the bloc is ready to defend its interests and respond to any unilateral U.S. decisions with countermeasures, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday.
"I believe that wars are generally not a good idea, and that trade wars are not a good idea either, because at the end, everyone will lose," Altmaier said on a ZDF television talk show.
"Therefore, the goal and interest is that we avoid this trade war," Altmaier said, adding that the EU wanted to solve the dispute with the United States by agreeing on lower tariffs.
However, if Washington decides to impose higher tariffs unilaterally, Brussels will respond with its own measures, "so that everyone knows that we protect and defend our own interests," Altmaier added.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Jonathan Oatis)