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Heiko Maas, the foreign minister of Germany, meets with his Finnish counterpart, Timo Soini, in front of the Finlandia Hall on May 25, 2018. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“Regarding transatlantic relations, we discussed how to foster the openness of global trade, reduce trade policy frictions and how to uphold the rules-based international system,” said Foreign Minister Timo Soini at the press conference with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, at the Finlandia Hall on Friday afternoon.

Minister Maas arrived in Finland for bilateral discussions with Soini and to meet with President Sauli Niinistö. According to Soini, the discussions were fruitful. Germany, after all, like Soini said, “is an important—strategic—partner for Finland.”

One of the topics at the conference was the dismay of German automakers after the US said recently that tariffs on car imports could be on the horizon, as much as 25 percent.

“It would be very harmful if the tariffs would come into effect. There’s still time to settle the matter and we hope that we will succeed, but it’s not going to be easy,” Soini said.

View the pictures of the visit below:

According to the White House, the car imports from abroad could pose a security risk by weakening the internal economy and thus impairing the national security.

“German cars, if anything, make the US streets safer,” Maas said at the press conference.

Soini brought up the Baltic Sea. “[The Baltic Sea] has special economic and security importance for all countries in the region. This is sometimes forgotten when we talk about current tensions in Europe.

The Baltic Sea is a European sea and thus a key for the security of the EU’s as well as Nato,” Soini said and continued, “Finland—and Sweden—have a long experience and knowledge about the region.  It is important to share this also with our partners. Hence, the 29+2 cooperation in Nato continues to be very useful for this purpose.”