Merkel Hails Open Trade at Hamburg Port Before Pompeo Visit

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Chancellor Angela Merkel used a trip to Germany’s premier port of Hamburg to make the case for barrier-free global trade, hinting at her likely message to U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo when he visits Berlin Tuesday.

At one of Europe’s most modern container terminals, Merkel said that trade barriers and protectionism stifle economic growth, employment and tax revenue. The scale and speed of goods transfer at Hamburg’s highly-automated shipping operation underline how trade is fundamental to economic life, she added.

Merkel Hails Open Trade at Hamburg Port Before Pompeo Visit

“We need to have a global conversation about how we can foster fair and balanced trade conditions,” Merkel said. The comments follow a podcast posted on Saturday in which she defended multilateral agreements.

Pompeo’s visit to Berlin comes as the European Union prepares for negotiations with the U.S. on removing industrial tariffs. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose levies on foreign car imports, which would particularly affect Germany.

Merkel Hails Open Trade at Hamburg Port Before Pompeo Visit

China is presently the main focus of Trump’s trade strategy, and tweets by the president at the weekend threatened an escalation of tariffs by the end of the week.

“We all hope that the trade dispute between the U.S and China can be resolved, because it won’t have any positive impact on anybody in the global economy,” German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Monday in Berlin. The EU is focused on starting trade talks with U.S. as soon as possible, he added.

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