BERLIN : German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang stressed their commitment to a multilateral trade system Monday in the wake of Washington's  decision to impose wide spread tariffs, saying it was in everyone's benefit.

Speaking in Berlin after the two countries signed deals worth 20 billion euros [$23.60 billion], Li told reporters the projects demonstrated how nations could work together.

In addition to multiple joint cooperation projects between  governmental agencies, companies like BASF. BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Siemens and Bosch announced deals and partnerships.

"Free trade plays a strong leading role for both sides and for the world economy," Li said through an interpreter in the Berlin chancellery.

On Friday last, US President Donald Trump imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressuring companies to hand over technology.

China announced retaliatory tariffs on a similar on similar amount of US goods.

Trump has also imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports that include the  European Union, and has threatened additional tariffs on products like automobiles, singling out Germany in particular.

Bavaria-based automaker BMW has already been caught in the middle of escalating trade strife between the US and China, saying Monday it would have to raise  prices on SUVs  it builds in the  US that it exports to China, after Beijing raised the import tax on cars from the United States to 40 pc from 15 pc.

"We have a lot of direct investment in the United States of America, we  have a lot of direct investment in China," Merkel said.

"It really is a multilateral interdependent system that at its best most likely is really a plulrilateral  win-win situation when we stick to the rules." [AP]


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