German ministers hail trade announcement from Juncker and Trump

German ministers hail trade announcement from Juncker and Trump
Photo: DPA
German cabinet ministers hailed a joint announcement from US President Donald Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker as a “breakthrough” which would save “millions of jobs”.

“Congrats to (Juncker and Trump),” tweeted Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. “Breakthrough achieved that can avoid trade war and save millions of jobs! Great for global economy!”


Foreign minister Heiko Maas said that the series of joint steps agreed by Juncker and Trump were a testament to European unity.

“The agreement in the trade dispute shows that when Europe acts as one, our word has weight,” tweeted Maas. “We are not an opponent of the USA. Hopefully that fact is becoming obvious in the White House, as it has been until recently.”



German business leaders were more cautious, warning that the announcement still left many questions unanswered.

“The prospective solutions are a step in the right direction, but a healthy amount of scepticisim remains,” Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), told dpa.

“The customs spiral in transatlantic trade looks like it has been stopped for the time being,” admitted Dieter Kempf, president of the Federal Association of Industry (BDI) to dpa, but warned that “words must be backed up with actions”.

Juncker and Trump had announced the agreement on Wednesday at the end of the European Commission president’s visit to Washington.

Trump said that the EU and the US were about to enter “a new phase”, and spoke of working towards “zero tariffs”.

He said that the EU had promised to import more soy beans and liquid gas from the US.

The announcement marks a détente in the trade dispute between the EU and the US. Both sides agreed there would be no further escalation in the dispute, which began with the USA’s introduction of steel and aluminium tariffs at the beginning of June.

Both sides said they had agreed to “resolve” the issue of steel and aluminium tariffs, while Trump promised “to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.”

“I came for a deal, and we made a deal,” tweeted Juncker.

In the meantime, German consumer confidence is expected to dip only slightly in August, a survey said Thursday, as shoppers warily eyed the ongoing trade discussions.

Market research firm GfK said its forward-looking poll of around 2,000 Germans slipped to 10.6, or 0.1 points lower than in July.


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