Tariffs removal not needed for E.U., U.S. talks -European Council representative

The United States' removal of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is not a necessary precondition for trade talks between the United States and the European Union to begin, the European Council representative to the G20 Hubert Fuchs said on Sunday.

That ran against French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire's comments on the sidelines of the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Buenos Aires on Saturday that the United States must drop the tariffs before talks can start.

"We are representing 28 member states of the European Union, not only Germany and France. We shouldn't have any preconditions for the talks," Fuchs, also Austria's state secretary for finance, said in an interview. "It's not a precondition because preconditions are never good, but it would be a great wish."

Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Grant McCool.