German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would remain committed to free trade and noted that her government was prepared to fight to preserve open markets.
On Monday, speaking to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cologne, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel rebutted comments of the US President-elect Donald Trump about a border taxes on car imports and told industry leaders that she would remain committed to free trade. She also urged industry leaders to continue to support the German government in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK.
“We can’t let anyone divide us,” the Reuters news agency quoted her words.
Speaking about free trade and open markets, the German Chancellor noted that the government was prepared to fight to preserve them.
“We’ve got to fight this battle, if for no other reason than principle,” Merkel said, referring to Germany’s commitment to the free trade, and asked German business to “join her in defending liberal democracy and trade”, noting that “in every generation one has to fight for one’s ideals.”
“I’m ready for that,” the Chancellor stressed.
“I have the impression that we are once again at a crossroads,” Merkel said, hinting to the deliverance the world from backward-looking protectionists.
She also noted that termination of protectionism is a part of the struggle, and would not give up on free-trade deals with Washington. “I have a lot of resolve, but the number of doubters is growing,” Merkel said, adding that she is “deeply convinced” that “embracing competition rather eliminating it is best for human development and for prosperity in Germany.”
The Chancellor of Germany urged her audience to resist giving up those principles “too hastily for reasons of short-term gain.”
Earlier on Monday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also warned Trump against the dangers of protectionist trade policies.
“Whoever wants growth – and I trust this administration will be a growth-friendly one – must be in favor of open markets,” Schaeuble told the Wall Street Journal newspaper. “Protectionism can afford short-term advantages but is almost always damaging in the long term.”
Also on Monday morning, German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said that Germans would gladly buy US automobiles, but only if the US could “build better cars.” He also noted that there “is a link between America’s flawed interventionist policy, especially the Iraq war, and the [European] refugee crisis,” responding to the Trump’s criticism of Germany’s “catastrophic” refugee policy.