U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions and trade tariffs imposed on countries like China and Turkey are damaging economic growth, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in an interview published Sunday.
“This trade war is slowing down and destroying economic growth, and producing new uncertainties,” Altmaier told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “The past has shown that during trade wars, consumers suffer above all because products get more expensive.”
The United States is about to hit a variety of synthetic rubber products and halogenated polymers from China on August 23, as part of its second tranche of punitive tariffs. Trump also said Friday he would hit Turkey with increased steel and aluminum tariffs amid a diplomatic row over the arrest of an American pastor and charges against several U.S. officers at the İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey.
Altmaier also praised an agreement reached last month by Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on trade, saying it has saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in Europe.
“We have again turned the corner just a few meters from the edge. A global trade war would not know winners, only losers,” he said. “The agreement that EU Commission President Juncker set up with Trump secures hundreds of thousands of jobs in Germany and Europe.”
Altmaier was also critical of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the first set of which came into force last Monday. “We do not let Washington dictate trade relations with other countries and therefore stand by the Vienna nuclear agreement so that Iran does not produce nuclear weapons,” Altmaier said, referring to the 2015 deal reached with Iran.
In a joint statement on Monday, the European guarantors of the Iran agreement said they were actively working to thwart the U.S. sanctions.
“We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the U.S., due to the latter’s withdrawal from the [deal],” the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, said in the statement, also signed by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the U.K.