German industry leaders have said they’re optimistic about the outcome of a planned meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump in the US. They hope current tensions can be defused.The head of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), Ingo Kramer, told German broadcaster ZDF on Monday he was full of hope that German Chancellor Angela Merkel could “achieve quite a lot” during her talks Tuesday with US President Donald Trump in Washington.
He noted that German companies had created a total of 700,000 jobs across the United States, using the advantages of unrestricted trade. He warned that free trade was no one-way street.
Referring to Donald Trump’s protectionist agenda, Kramer indicated that Trump the businessman would finally have to see the benefits of free trade.
Current concerns over the US’ future economic policy may be justified, but I believe that with a bit of sensitivity these concerns can be minimized or even fully removed,” Kramer argued.
Trade surplus a thorn in the side
In 2016, the US was Germany’s largest export market, with the US president openly criticizing Germany’s trade surplus of 49 billion euros ($52.3 billion) and threatening to levy excessive import tariffs.
The head of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Dieter Kempf, told Germany’s Bayerischer Rundfunk on Monday that at the end of the day Trump would not resort to imposing high import tariffs.
He added that the US president had every right to look for ways of cranking up the domestic economy, but tariffs were not conducive to a viable solution.
“After all, parts of the US business community had experienced a decline not because of other nations’ import tariffs, but because some products made in the US had simply not been competitive on global markets any more.”
Daniel Andrich, Representative of German Industry and Trade, said German companies could make a vital contribution toward strengthening the manufacturing industry in the US.
“The German production model, involving the dual vocational training system, can serve as an attractive example,” Andrich told the German business daily “Handelsblatt.”
hg/jd (dpa, AFP)