Germany warns of ‘rough ride’ under Donald Trump: German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel

January 21, 2017 10:30 pm

President speaks during the Armed Services Ball January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has described the future under US President Donald Trump as a “rough ride” in the first official reaction to his inauguration.
“I think we have to prepare for a rough ride,” Gabriel said in an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF, noting that Trump’s election was the result of “a bad radicalization.”
The leader of the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), coalition partners of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives, also ruled out suggestions that Trump may not pursue some controversial pledges, such as imposing heavy tariffs on the imports of Mexican-made cars.
“He means it extremely seriously,” said Gabriel. “What we heard today were high nationalistic tones,” he added.
Gabriel said the European Union and Germany must stand together “to defend our interests” in the face of this nationalistic fervor.
He also called for a new economic strategy geared toward Asia that defend the interests of Berlin and the EU if the new US administration launches a trade war with China as he warned against protectionism.
“Should start a trade war with China and all of Asia then we as Europeans and Germans are fair partners,” Gabriel said.
“Europe and Germany need a strategy geared toward Asia and China and we have new opportunities,” he said, adding that “we should neither be submissive nor have fear.”
Trump, who was sworn in on January 20, has threatened to impose heavy tax on companies that have moved their production, fully or partially, to Mexico and ship their products back to the .
Trump warned that his administration will levy a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the US.
Concerns about Trump’s protectionist trade policy have grown as they are expected to harm the global economy. 
Meanwhile a day after Trump was inaugurated, Asian media denounced the new administration which said it would put “America First”.
“Has there ever been a new US administration that began by spreading unease, not expectations, throughout the world?” Japanese conservative newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, wondered.
The daily said Trump is apparently willing to snub both alliances and global norms if they didn’t benefit the US.
“Will the unpredictable Trump whirlwind cross the US borders to spread division and conflict? The new master of the White House must realize the heavy responsibility that accompanies his words and actions,” liberal Asahi Shimbun said.
Chinese media expressed hope that the Trump government had understood the significance of maintaining good ties with China. It, however, called for readiness against any anti-China moves by Trump.
“What’s crucial is to control and manage disputes and find a way to resolve them,” said the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.
The looming US-China trade war also raised concerns about its global effect.
“As an exporting nation reliant on both China and the US, we would suffer from greater US protectionism and any trade war,” said the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We may have to negotiate our way through a new world order not just regarding trade and China but also climate, Russia and regional security given Trump’s lack of interest in the US playing the role of sheriff.”
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