Handelsblatt exclusive

Business, Trade Unions Make Common Cause Against Protectionism

Containerumschlag im Hamburger Hafen
Picture source: dpa

Germany’s leading business lobbies and trade unions have penned a joint statement declaring their opposition to trade protectionism in a rare display of unity.

In the statement, obtained by Handelsblatt, the representatives of business and labor declare their opposition to “political and economic renationalization efforts” and call for “an open and fair trade system at the global level.”

The statement has been signed by Economics Minister Brigitte Zypries, the BDA employers association, the BDI industrial association, the DIHK German chambers of commerce, the DGB trade union confederation, the IG Metall trade union as well as 12 other associations and unions.

The statement is a rare display of unity among German business and labor representatives, who often disagree on trade issues. Leading union figures, for example, sharply criticized the TTIP trade talks with the United States out of concern that a deal would weaken European labor standards.

Business and labor groups, however, have grown concerned about U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal and to impose tariffs against German automakers that produce vehicles in Mexico.

Britain’s plans to leave the European single market and far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s calls for trade barriers have also raised concern.

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