News ID: 215406
Published: 0256 GMT May 20, 2018

DIHK head calls for EU to take tough line in trade dispute with US

DIHK head calls for EU to take tough line in trade dispute with US

Head of Germany’s DIHK Chambers of Commerce Eric Schweitzer called for the EU to take a tough line in the trade dispute with the United States, saying while it was important to remain in dialogue over difficult conflicts, “we’re moving in the wrong direction if we automatically react to new unreasonable demands with concessions.”

The United States has pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and Germany has acknowledged it could be hard to protect companies doing business with Iran, as a senior US official renewed a threat of sanctions against European firms, Reuters reported.

German companies are concerned that US President Donald Trump is increasingly thinking only of America rather than just putting his country first, Schweitzer told media.

German companies also face the prospect of possible extra levies — Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum in March but the European Union has been granted exemptions until June 1.

“America First now increasingly means America Alone,” DIHK president told the RND group of newspapers. “That makes German businesses really worried.”

Nonetheless, a DIHK survey published earlier this month showed a record number of German companies believe economies in foreign markets where they do business will improve despite rising political and trade risks.

In January Trump said he would always promote “America First,” as he expected other world leaders to do on behalf of their own countries, but added: “America First does not mean America alone. When the United States grows so does the world.”

Germany is Europe’s biggest exporter to the United States.

The European country has also increased its trade relations with Iran.

Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, German companies are still willing to remain in the Iranian market and are exploring ways to continue cooperation with Tehran.

Abbas Ali Qasaeizadeh, the head of the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Germany is an industrial and advanced country which manufactures the best industrial machinery in the world.

Qasaeizadeh underlined that German products have always been used in Iranian industries.

He added that annual trade between Iran and Germany stood at up to €2.5 billion prior to the signing of the Iran nuclear deal at a time when Western sanctions on Tehran had intensified.

“Following the implementation of the JCPOA, however, the figure rose to between €5 billion and €6 billion per year.”



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