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EU and U.S. can still avoid trade conflict - German economy minister

BERLIN, March 19 (Reuters) - Toby Germany believes there is a chance that the European Union and the United States could avoid a dispute over planned U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from morphing into a wider trade conflict, its economy minister said on Monday.

"Both Secretary Ross and I have the impression that decisive talks will take place this week and that it is possible to reach a solution that averts a difficult trade conflict," Peter Altmaier told reporters in Washington after talks with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

"This is not sure but I think with good will from both sides there is a chance that we could have a positive signal by the end of the week," he added, referring to talks on Tuesday between Ross and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. (Reporting by Joseph Nasr Editing by Alison Williams)