Merkel hails US decision to weakening ‘Buy American’ clause

Merkel hails US decision to weakening 'Buy American' clause
Photo: DPA
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the world's largest exporter, on Thursday hailed the US Senate's decision to water down a "Buy American" clause from its stimulus plan, calling it a "good signal."

“We think it is a good and important signal that this ‘Buy American’ clause was very greatly diluted,” Merkel said at a press conference here with the heads of several major economic bodies.

No country can implement stimulus packages without regard to other countries in the interconnected global economy, Merkel added, not even the “very, very big USA.”

On Tuesday, Merkel indirectly attacked the clause which forbade stimulus spending on a project unless all of the iron, steel and manufactured goods involved were made in the United States.

US lawmakers Wednesday approved by voice vote a softening in the clause’s language, but rejected a separate effort to strip it from the bill. Germany wants to have access to US markets for its goods and also wants to attract US products to its domestic markets, Merkel said.

She also joined with the heads of other major economic bodies to condemn protectionism, saying in a joint statement: “Despite today’s troubled state of

the global economy, all countries have a duty to resist protectionist tendencies.”

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said earlier Thursday that protectionism was a “very, very important threat.”

Following a meeting with – amongst others – heads of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, and the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Merkel said clinching a global trade deal was “all the more urgent” during the economic crisis.

Ministers have been struggling to agree a trade deal since talks were launched in Doha in 2001 and regular commitments to make progress and complete the round have come to nothing.