World Economy

Germany to Push for Free Trade at G20

Germany to Push for Free Trade at G20Germany to Push for Free Trade at G20

Germany’s new Finance Minister Olaf Scholz warned on Sunday that protectionism could harm future economic prospects and said Germany would continue talks to dissuade the United States from imposing planned punitive steel and aluminum tariffs.

Scholz told reporters en route to his first meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that he would underscore the importance of free trade for the global economy when he meets US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, Reuters reported.

The world economy is growing together “and it should stay together” said Scholz, a member of the Social Democrats, junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government.

Free trade had a decisive role to play in securing future economic growth, Scholz said, adding, “That’s why it would be difficult if protectionism played a bigger role.”

Scholz said Germany had a “clear position” on the planned US tariffs, and hoped further discussions with US officials could help avert a looming trade war with the European Union.

German and other EU officials are pushing back against plans announced earlier this month by US President Donald Trump to impose duties on incoming steel and aluminum. He also threatened to levy a tax on European cars if the EU did not remove tariffs and trade barriers on a range of goods.

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone on Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the proposed US tariffs, and underscored the importance of multilateral cooperation on global trade.

Germany will also seek joint G20 action to tighten the taxation of digital companies, Scholz said. European countries such as Germany and France are concerned about tax avoidance by online companies, such as Alphabet Inc’s Google or Facebook Inc, which do not need to be physically present in countries where they operate.



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