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People walk past the U.S. Embassy in Berlin July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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BERLIN (Reuters) - New sanctions against Russia proposed by U.S. lawmakers and which could harm European firms violate international law and the European Commission should consider counter-measures, the German economy minister was quoted on Monday as saying.

"We consider this as being against international law, plain and simple," Brigitte Zypries told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain. "Of course we don't want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures."

The German government and business leaders have said the new sanctions passed this month by the U.S. House of Representatives could prevent German companies from working on pipeline projects that they say are essential to Germany's energy security.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Reuters