Germany Welcomes EU – US ‘Détente’, Stays Cautious after Trump – Juncker Meeting
Germany, the EU’s biggest economy and largest car exporter, has hailed the EU – US deal reached at Wednesday’s Trump – Juncker meeting in the White House but remains cautious with respect to the agreement’s follow up.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump made it clear immediately after their meeting that it has resulted in avoiding a full-fledged trade war.
They agreed to work for “zero tariffs”, and a joint statement of the EU and the US declared “a new phase” in what is the world’s largest trade relationship.
German government officials and business figures reacted to the Trump – Juncker deal on Thursday with a measured welcome.
“[The deal] sends an important signal of detente,” said Dieter Kempf, the head of the Federation of German Industries, as cited by AP.
“The tariff spiral in trans-Atlantic trade appears to have been halted for now,” he added.
“But now deeds must follow words,” Kempf emphasized.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier was among the first to express his approval on Twitter declaring that the Trump – Juncker deal would “avoid trade war & save millions of jobs!”
“The agreement in the trade row has shown that when Europe presents a united front our word has weight,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted while a visit in South Korea.
“We are not opponents of the USA. Hopefully that insight will once again mature into what it was not long ago: something that goes without saying,” he added.
Maas even described the results of the Trump – Juncker meeting in Washington as being above expectations, and added that “we will now have some time.”
German Angela Merkel’s deputy spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said Germany’s government welcomed the agreement, and that the “EU Commission could continue to rely on our support,” as cited by DW.
“[The deal] is good news for business and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,” said the head of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, Bernhard Mattes.
“What has to be done now is to fill the agreement with life and quickly start negotiations,” he added in a statement.
BusinessEurope, an umbrella organization of European business lobbies, declared that “reason has prevailed.”
“The agenda for talks between the EU and the US to de-escalate the current trade conflict is the right one,” said its president, Pierre Gattaz.
“The solutions that have been presented are moving in the right direction, but a proper portion of skepticism remains,” said Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).
“We’re still some distance away from equal negotiations. The unjustified car tariffs are not completely off the table,” he added.
“It’s not a proper deal, but it’s a step away from the abyss,” commented Holger Schmieding, chief economist at the Berenberg Bank, in what was described by DW as “perhaps the pithiest comment” on the Trump – Juncker deal.
(Banner image: Donald Trump on Twitter)