Higher Tariffs Won’t Reduce German Trade Surplus, Weidmann Says

(Bloomberg) -- The idea that trade tariffs would reduce Germany’s massive current surplus is wrong, according to Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.

It’s true that new duties would lower imports, but lower foreign demand would also weigh down on exports, he said in Hamburg on Thursday.

The surplus also means that other countries can benefit by being able to invest more than they can save.

“If the German savings surplus flows into productive investments abroad, growth opportunities and jobs are created there,” Weidmann said.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Germany for taking unfair advantage of the U.S. by running a current account surplus for almost two decades and Weidmann admitted that even after peaking at more than 8% in 2015, it still remains “very high.”

“The question of the extent to which such a balance is sustainable in the long term is therefore justified,” he said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.