Facts and Findings

The Future of US-German Relations (I): Trade Policy

by Arbeitskreis Junge Außenpolitiker
Donald J. Trump’s election as president of the United States of America has prompted an uproar in international politics. What does that mean for German-American relations? In a series of threes papers, the KAS Working Group of Young Foreign Policy Experts comes up with a number of suggestions as to how to react. This first paper deals with trade policy and European responses to American protectionism.

Key Points

  • Should the US enter into a phase of trade protectionism, Europe must response as follows: the stronger the isolationist efforts on the part of Washington, the stronger Berlin must pursue its liberalisation efforts.
  • Direct punitive tariffs or import quota should not be reciprocated. Protective tariffs should only be imposed as a last resort, exclusively for tactical political reasons, for instance to strategically exert pressure on US Members of Congress in their constituencies.
  • The EU’s Directorate General for Trade must be equipped with considerably greater resources. The European Commission should make concerted efforts to revive the dormant negotiations on numerous free trade agreements and push ahead with them.
  • Contacts with US federal states must be intensified to try circumventing the extensive presidential powers in matters of trade policy.
  • A policy of multilateral, rules-based trade is in Germany’s and Europe’s vital interest. In the event of the US engaging in a protectionist trade policy, the EU should pursue an active course of taking cases to courts of arbitration and help strengthening the WTO.

Facts and Findings
December 22, 2017
Die Zukunft der deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen (II): Multilaterale Zusammenarbeit
Facts and Findings
December 22, 2017
Die Zukunft der deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen (III): Sicherheitspolitik

About this series

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


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Dr. Kristin Wesemann


Head of Strategy and Planning

kristin.wesemann@kas.de +49 30 26996-3803

Sophie Steybe

Referentin Publikationen

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