German businesses worried over trade barriers with US under Trump

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German Foreign Minister is in Washington with plans to meet new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

His visit comes after Germany criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson explains what’s at stake in their business relationship.
Follow Guy Henderson on Twitter @guyhendersonde

German businesses worried over trade barriers with US under Trump

German businesses worried over trade barriers with US under Trump

German Foreign Minister is in Washington with plans to meet new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. His visit comes after Germany criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban. CGTN’s Guy Henderson explains what’s at stake in their business relationship.

The management of one of Germany’s giants of industry is upbeat at their annual shareholders meeting.

Siemens has upped its growth forecast for 2017, despite all the global uncertainty. The company’s CEO is holding out hope.

“The new American president has a way of handling things that is completely different to what we’re used to. But he’s got a good team of advisers – people who know all about global business: IBM, GM’s Mary,” Joe Kaesar, CEO of Siemens AG said.

The sounds from the new White House have been anything but globalist. That’s ringing alarm bells in the export-heavy economy.

German business is putting on a brave face. The economy minister said last week a protectionist U.S. could even give it a competitive advantage in parts of the world that America withdraws from. But the Trump administration has singled out Germany for criticism – raising fears of a Trans-Atlantic trade war.

On top of the new president’s own comments – his top trade adviser this week accused Berlin of keeping the value of the Euro artificially low to boost exports. Leaders said that’s out of our control.

“Germany is a country that has always called for the European Central Bank to pursue an independent policy, just as the Bundesbank did before the euro existed. Because of that we will not influence the behaviour of the ECB. We try to stand our ground in the global market with globally competitive products in fair competition with everyone else,” Angela Merkel, German Chancellor said.

Indeed, the prevailing German view is – it’s not just price that drives demand. But if instead, the trade barriers go up many seem ready to look elsewhere.

America is Germany’s largest export market. If yet more U.S. rhetoric becomes reality and that it could be bad news for Europe’s biggest economy.