Statement delivered by Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), on Donald Trump’s election victory:
“It is not yet completely clear what Donald Trump’s election will really mean for politics, business and society in the US. As President of the largest national economy in the world, he will bear great responsibility for his country, but also for the global economic situation and international relations. We hope that many of his pronouncements were motivated by the election campaign and that in office he will take a more moderate course. A stable industrial base is important not only for Europe but also for the US, so that this large economy – which is currently characterized by positive factors such as job creation, falling unemployment and good wage development – will be assured of growth and continue to pick up speed. More protectionism or additional trade barriers would be harmful to the United States just as much as to its trading partners. So TTIP is of special importance. And we hope that the TTIP negotiations will be boosted under Donald Trump. Together, the US and Europe can set high standards that will then serve as models around the globe.
The automotive industry stands for free world trade. Access to the international markets and the removal of trade barriers are key requirements for safeguarding our competitiveness and therefore for growth and employment. If it becomes more difficult to conclude bilateral agreements in the future, the efforts of the World Trade Organization should be stepped up and new strategies developed for multilateral free trade agreements.
Furthermore, the election in the US indicates one thing very clearly: competition between the large industrialized countries will become tougher, and the struggle surrounding industrial production locations will increase. There is reason to fear that under the new president the US, just like China, will concentrate most of all on its own economy – to the detriment of international relations and trade flows.
That must be a signal to Germany and Europe to keep their eyes firmly on their own competitiveness and to ensure a political environment that supports industrial production instead of applying the brakes. In the future Germany must certainly continue to play a pioneering role in environmental policy. At the same time, however, it is important to do everything we can to prevent this from hampering our own industry and thus jeopardizing prosperity and jobs. It would therefore be right to back up the Climate Action Plan 2050 with a specific industrial-policy schedule 2050.”