Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to revive the free trade negotiations between the USA and the European Union. At the Economic Summit Süddeutsche Zeitung In Berlin, Scholz campaigned on Tuesday to “review very carefully” the idea of an industrial tariff agreement with the United States. After right-wing populist Donald Trump’s election victory in the USA in 2016, negotiations on the transatlantic free trade agreement TTIP, which is also controversial in Europe, came to a standstill and were not resumed even after Democrat Joe Biden took office.
In a new attempt, at least for a partial agreement, Scholz now sees a remedy against a possible trade war between the USA and the EU. “After all, such an agreement is always better than the bidding war on subsidies and protective tariffs that some see coming as a result of the US Inflation Reduction Act,” he said. The law passed by the US Congress in the summer provides large sums for climate protection, but excludes European companies. This has led to sharp criticism in the EU. In response, French President Emmanuel Macron called for subsidies for European manufacturers.
A working group is to defuse the conflict between the EU and the USA
Scholz pointed out that an American-European task force had been deployed to defuse the conflict. He himself is also in conversation with US President Joe Biden. “We’re working hard there,” he emphasized. The Chancellor also emphasized that Germany is also promoting climate-friendly future technologies such as electromobility. “We’re not that bad now,” he said. Care must be taken to ensure that competition is not distorted.
“Europe must also find a common response to the US Inflation Reduction Act so that our companies can compete,” said Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) on Tuesday during a visit to Paris. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) had already warned of a trade conflict at the beginning of November. In Washington, one shouldn’t forget that “we are also capable of acting on our part.” In a position paper, Chancellery Minister Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD) and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth (SPD), also spoke out in favor of making a new attempt with the USA for a FTA gain weight.
At the SZ economic summit, Scholz basically campaigned for free trade agreements with as many partners as possible. Europe can use its “great market relevance” and negotiate agreements with high social, environmental and human rights standards – “even if not every one of our proposals can be implemented one-to-one”. With China in mind in particular, Scholz named the goal of diversification as far as possible in order to prevent dependencies on individual partners. With Russia, one has experienced “what it means to become too dependent on a strategically important resource such as gas.” His perception after talks with German business representatives was: “This mistake will not happen to us a second time.”