In the trade conflict with the U.S. Over punitive tariffs, the new federal economics minister peter altmaier (CDU) is seeking a solution at the negotiating table. Higher tariffs mean that in the end it is the citizens who pay the price.
This is what altmaier said at the handover of office at the ministry of economics in berlin. He will also talk on the phone with his US counterpart wilbur ross. Escalation must be avoided.
Altmaier stressed the importance of open and fair world trade. He warned against a race for protective tariffs and higher levies. "We are at a very important crossroads." Altmaier says he’s a big believer in transatlantic cooperation. Free world trade has contributed a great deal to the prosperity of the population.
Christine lagarde, head of the international monetary fund, also warned against global trade barriers. The recently adopted U.S. Import tariffs must not be allowed to escalate into protectionist countermeasures, IMF chief says. "Economic history clearly shows that trade wars are not only detrimental to global growth, but also unwinnable."The frenchwoman contradicts US president donald trump, who considers trade wars easy to win.
Lagarde also indirectly criticized the financial policy of the USA. Trade barriers are not the right way to reduce global imbalances. On the other hand, government spending policy is of great importance. Lower budget deficits to put public finances on a sustainable footing. The U.S. Government is currently going in the opposite direction by sharply cutting taxes and significantly increasing spending. The budget deficits were therefore allowed to rise sharply.
Trump had imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum to protect domestic industry. The EU wants to negotiate to be exempt from the tariffs. Commission president jean-claude juncker, however, threatened countermeasures at the same time. Commission considers import duties on U.S. Goods like whiskey, motorcycles and peanut butter.
North rhine-westphalia minister-president armin laschet (CDU) sees jobs in germany at risk in the event of a possible "steel glut" in europe as a result of U.S. Punitive tariffs. Laschet told the german press agency that US punitive tariffs on steel products did not have an immediate impact on german plants. "But if there is a glut of steel on the european markets because the americans are battening down the hatches, then that can also become a problem for jobs here in europe."
According to the association of german chambers of industry and commerce (DIHK), the punitive tariffs imposed by the USA on steel and aluminum are making the products of german manufacturers more expensive by 400 million euros. In a guest article for "wirtschaftswoche," DIHK president eric schweitzer calls on the eu to stand up to u.S. Policy. Not only must decisive action be taken, but negotiations must also take place.
The looming trade conflict with the USA was also a topic in the bundestag. Most speakers urged the EU to seek a negotiated settlement. It’s no use answering tariffs with counter-tariffs, says CDU member ralph brinkhaus. FDP economic policy expert michael theurer called for the negotiations on the transatlantic trade agreement TTIP, which are on ice, to be revived.
Left-wing politician fabio de masi demanded that the federal government reduce its high trade surplus, which trump has long criticized. Green member of parliament katharina droge said the conflict was primarily about the question of how globalization could be shaped fairly – for example, through fair trade agreements and uniform production standards.
Afd member of parliament leif-erik holm criticized the eu for being more protectionist than the u.S. Trump keeps election promise that commands respect. The federal government should take this as an example.