German Chancellor Angela Merkel vows not to give up on EU-US free trade deal

June 20, 2017 10:30 pm

German Chancellor makes a point during her speech at a two-day meeting of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), on June 20, 2017, in Berlin. (Photo by AFP)

has vowed that she will not give up on a free trade deal between the European Union and the United States, saying she also tries to work out a “broad agreement” on trade at the upcoming summit of the G20.
The German chancellor made the remarks at the annual conference of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), attended by 1,200 leading representatives from , economy, science and , in  the capital Berlin on Tuesday.
“We will do everything to achieve as broad an agreement as possible on this in Hamburg,” Merkel said, emphasizing the necessity of convincing others of the benefits of open markets and free and fair world trade.
“In view of the new American administration that isn’t easy, but we must make the effort nonetheless,” she said.
Merkel will host the leaders of the G20 economy powers, composed of 19 countries, including the United States, plus the European Union, in the northern city of Hamburg on July 7-8 at a time that concerns over US President Donald Trump administration’s “America first” approach to trade are high.
Merkel and Trump have had an almost strained relationship since the latter took office in January.
The German chancellor has in multiple occasions criticized Trump for pulling out the United States from the Paris climate pact and also for his project to build a wall against Mexican immigrants on the US’s southern border. Last week, she also launched her latest attack against the US president for Washington’s plan to toughen American sanctions on Russia.
On the other side, Trump has criticized Berlin for its export-driven economy and for accepting in a large number of refugees in 2015. Washington has already expressed its disapproval of ’s sizeable trade surplus with the United States.

The file photo shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) pictured with US President Donald Trump in Italy in May 2017.

Merkel, however, reiterated her defense of Germany’s record, arguing that both imports and exports should not be perceived “in isolation” as German products often contain parts from other parts of the EU, which, she further argues, help boost productivity across the bloc.
“I will continue to push for us to move forward here, for us not to put the project on ice but to try to take further steps,” she said. 
Trump pulled the United States out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership in his first week in office in January. Accordingly, prospects for a planned US-EU deal, technically known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also look bleak.
The upcoming G20 summit is already overshadowed by the US-Germany bilateral tensions, but Merkel, ’s most powerful politician, said on Monday that the United States “is an important part” of the international forum, adding that the Americans “will be most welcome by the German government despite all differences in opinion.”
Merkel, who has been in office since 2005, is seeking a hard-to-achieve fourth term in fall.
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