Germany says U.S. under Trump must abide
by trade deals
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[January 20, 2017]
BERLIN (Reuters) - Washington must
stick to international agreements under the presidency of Donald Trump,
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday, but does not
expect a major trade war despite the President-elect's attack on German
Trump - now hours away from his inauguration - 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," he said.
Trump criticized German auto makers this week for failing to produce
more cars in the U.S. 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.
He 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," he said.
Trump has triggered concern across German industry.
"Protectionism will not secure jobs in the medium- to long-term," Dennis
Snower, president of the Institute of World Economy, said in a
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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
"Trump is making foreigners the scapegoat for the fact that the
American dream of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps isn't
Marcel Fratzscher, head of the DIW economic institute, said Trump's
protectionism would not bring any jobs back to the U.S.
"On the contrary, he will destroy even more jobs," he told German
The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany also urged Trump to
stick to free trade agreements, underscoring the importance of
U.S.-German trade relations.
"Protectionist measures like tariffs and or the cancellation of
international trade agreements have no place in a globalized world,"
said the group's president, Bernhard Mattes.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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