Germany’s Merkel vows not to give up on US free trade deal
To host G20, seeking as broad an agreement as possible on the advantages of open markets, free and fair world trade.
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Tuesday to seek a broad agreement on trade at next month’s Group of 20 summit and told German business leaders that she won’t give up on a free-trade deal between Europe and the US.
Merkel will host leaders of the G20 powers in Hamburg on July 7-8 amid widespread concern over the Trump administration’s “America first” approach to trade. In a speech to an annual German industry congress, she stressed the need to convince others of the advantages of open markets and free and fair world trade.
“We will do everything to achieve as broad an agreement as possible on this in Hamburg,” Merkel said. “In view of the new American administration that isn’t easy, but we must make the effort nonetheless.”
President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of a trade agreement with Pacific nations. Prospects for a planned US-European Union deal, the planned Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also look poor.
Merkel, however, insisted that it offers a chance to set “common standards that others in the world wouldn’t be able to get around so easily,” given that a US-EU accord would cover about 30% of world trade.
“I will continue to push for us to move forward here, for us not to put the project on ice but to try to take further steps,” she said.
Trump has criticized Germany for its sizeable trade surplus with the United States, and Berlin also has faced criticism from other European countries.
Merkel renewed her defence of her country’s record, arguing that imports and exports shouldn’t be viewed “in isolation” as German products often include parts from elsewhere in the EU, helping boost productivity elsewhere.
German direct investments in the US are almost 10 times higher than US companies’ investments in Germany, she added – “a lot of jobs in the United States depend on this, but this is also a contribution to world trade because, of course, there are also exports from the United States.”