Germany says U.S. under
Trump must abide by trade deals
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[January 20, 2017]
(Reuters) - The United States must stick to international agreements
under the presidency of Donald Trump, German Finance Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble said on Friday, adding that he did not expect a major trade
war despite Trump's attack on German car makers.
Trump, taking office on Friday, has vowed to make sweeping changes to
U.S. trade policy, and economists see his protectionism as the biggest
risk to U.S. growth.
"The United States also signed international agreements," Schaeuble told
magazine Der Spiegel. "I don't think a big trade war will break out
tomorrow, but we will naturally insist that agreements are upheld."
Schaeuble separately told the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, that even a superpower like the United States could not
destroy global free trade structures.
"I am quite optimistic that even the U.S. and the rest of the world as a
whole will not (abandon) the defense of free trade," he said.
He said the German economy would clearly feel the effects of any
protectionist backlash emanating from Washington, but Germany would be
somewhat insulated since its growth was currently driven by domestic
Trump criticized German auto makers this week for failing to produce
more cars in the United States and warned that he would impose a tax of
35 percent on vehicle imports.
U.S. companies employ more than 600,000 people in Germany, the United
States' biggest European trading partner, and German firms employ
roughly the same number in the U.S.
Schaeuble said he wished Trump luck if he wanted to tell Americans which
cars to buy. "That's not my vision of America and I don't think it's his
either," he said.
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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends the World
Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January
19, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich - RTSW88K
also recommended not taking Trump's practice of tweeting policy changes too
seriously: "One shouldn't confuse Trump's form of communication with statements
of government policy. We will not participate in that."
Trump has triggered concern across German industry. Marcel Fratzscher, head of
the DIW economic institute, said protectionism would not bring jobs back to the
"It's an alarming day for the European economy because the presidency of Donald
Trump has caused uncertainty," Fratzscher told Reuters TV. He urged European
officials to remain calm and avoid escalating the situation with threats and
The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany also urged Trump to stick to free
"Protectionist measures like tariffs and/or the cancellation of international
trade agreements have no place in a globalized world," its president Bernhard
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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