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German automakers set to meet with US administration

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is stressing that the European Union is responsible for trade negotiations ahead of a planned meeting between German automakers and U.S. officials. German media have reported that top executives from the country's big auto manufacturers, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, plan to meet Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the White House Tuesday.

That meeting comes at a time of elevated U.S.-European trade tensions in which car exports have been a focal point. Merkel said in Berlin Monday that "there is certainly reason to talk about ... what investments, what future the German automakers see as American employers with the American administration." But she dismissed the suggestion they could conduct trade diplomacy.

Trade questions, she said, are dealt by the European Commission.

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