Germany says a hike in U.S. import duties for European-made products would hurt both sides.
U.S. President Donald Trump has backed tariffs on foreign-made aluminum and steel and warned European cars might be taxed more, too.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert says such measures "would sorely affect international trade flows," European industries and in particular "workers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic."
Seibert told reporters Monday that in Berlin's view comparing individual tariffs was misleading because each side sets import duties across a range of sectors.
He said Germany would consult with European partners about what steps to take next. But he added: "It's clear we don't want things to get worse, and we certainly don't want anything like a trade war. That can't be in anyone's interest."