UPDATE 1-Germany to start work on trade, China, Syria war - Merkel

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BERLIN, March 5 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would work with France to tackle pressing issues such as trade policy and the war in Syria after the Social Democrats (SPD) voted to join a coalition government with her conservatives.

Merkel welcomed the vote by a majority of SPD members that ended more than five months of political deadlock in Europe's largest economy after an inconclusive election and said the right-left government must quickly get to work.

"What we're seeing and hearing everyday is that Europe needs to step up and Germany needs to have a strong voice there along with France and other member states (of the European Union)," said Merkel during a brief statement to reporters.

"This includes the very current issue of international trade policy on which many jobs depend here, the question of openness of competition with China and questions of peace and war like the scary situation in Syria," she said.

"This means it is important that we start working as soon as possible."

U.S. President Donald Trump last week stunned his European allies with plans to put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, triggering threats by the European Union to retaliate. (Reporting by Michelle Martin and Joseph Nasr; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Janet Lawrence)