March 21, 2018 / 11:07 PM / a year ago

U.S. tariffs pose risk to German exports - economy ministry

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports heighten the risk of protectionist trade policies by other countries, which could harm German exports, the economy ministry said in its monthly report.

“It remains to be seen how the latest developments in U.S. tariff policy will impact German trade and the outlook for exports,” the ministry said on Thursday.

“Uncertainty linked to possible protectionist measures and countermeasures at present constitute a risk for trade,” it added.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday that the United States is in talks with the European Union, Argentina and Australia on granting possible exemptions to the steel and aluminium tariffs.

Weak economic data for January suggest that growth in Europe’s largest economy slowed at the start of the year, but the outlook for 2018 remains good despite the risks to exports, the German economy ministry also said.

The government expects an expansion of 2.4 percent this year as the economy is expected to get addition impetus from plans by a new right-left government to reduce the financial burden on households.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Adrian Croft

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