1100 GMT July 19, 2019
Altmaier made the statement in the lead-up to a Group of 20 ministerial meeting on trade and digital economy in the city of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, which will take place early next month, japantimes.co.jp reported.
In the interview, Altmaier stressed that Japan is a close partner with his country.
He said that as free trade benefits all countries, Germany will make every effort to lower trade tariffs and strengthen the WTO.
Japan and the European Union (EU) have sent a message against protectionism by concluding an economic partnership agreement, the minister noted.
Both Japan and the EU are facing tough trade negotiations with the US under President Donald Trump. While the EU aims to negotiate with the US for the mutual abolition of tariffs on industrial products, the US side is poised to demand that the EU open up its agricultural markets.
The Trump administration is expected to seek concessions from the EU and others by threatening to impose higher tariffs on imported vehicles.
The German minister claimed that raising automotive tariffs would not serve US interests, saying many US lawmakers and industry stakeholders consider it the wrong path.