German Of The Day: Gefangener

That means prisoner or captive. You know, as in “Germany is a captive of Russia.”

Yeah. A captive who finally got caught.

Germany

“It pays billions and billions of dollars to Russia for energy. Germany is a rich country. Why should the U.S. protect you against Russia when the two countries are making deals? You tell me, is that appropriate?”

Deutschland ist ein Gefangener Russlands.

Advertisements

The Berlin Airlift

No, not this one. This one.

Iran

Iranian Plan to ‘Airlift $350 Million’ From Germany to Tehran Sparks U.S. Anger

The U.S. ambassador to Germany has called on Berlin to block an Iranian plan to withdraw 300 million euros ($350 million) of cash from bank accounts in Germany to offset the effect of new U.S. financial sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.

This comes after Washington recently announced new sanctions on Iran and ordered all countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November and foreign firms to stop doing business there or face U.S. blacklists.

Der Iran will 300 Millionen Euro in Deutschland loseisen und per Flieger heimholen. Die USA und Israel sind nicht erfreut.

Robust Export Growth?

German exports rebounded in May, providing more evidence of a strengthening of the economy in the second quarter.

Export

Yeah, I guess that’s true. If you forget the exports last month to one particular country. Those have dropped 10% for some inexplicable reason. But I’m sure that will pick up again real soon, right?

Despite ongoing trade tensions, German exports did what they normally do: grow. In May exports increased by 1.8% MoM, from -0.3% in April. At the same time, imports increased by 0.7% MoM, from 2.6% MoM in April. As a result, the trade surplus narrowed somewhat, from EUR20.1bn to EUR19.7bn.

“Die Verunsicherung durch die Einführung von Importzöllen seitens der USA und die Gegenmaßnahmen der EU und Chinas machen sich direkt bei den Unternehmen bemerkbar.”

When Had We Left The Jungle?

I wasn’t aware that we had.

Jungle

WTO Faces Existential Threat in Times of Trump -U.S. President Donald Trump has set his sights squarely on the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Even its critics are worried that without the organization, the world of trade would revert to the law of the jungle.

The U.S. and other industrialized nations made several concessions to developing economies when the WTO was founded in 1995 and significantly reduced their tariffs. In return, they were able to push through stronger protections for intellectual property. They hoped that the strategy would help slow China’s rise.

But from the U.S. perspective, the system has not been beneficial. And once China joined the WTO in 2001, that dissatisfaction only grew, partly because the Chinese proved adept at taking advantage of the rules. Even today, there is significant dissent within the WTO because the economic superpower China is still classified as a “developing nation” by the organization, which gives it certain privileges. On the other hand, China is fighting for recognition as a market economy, to which both the U.S. and the European Union are opposed because it would mean they could no longer defend themselves against state-subsidized Chinese exports with anti-dumping duties.

On top of all that, the WTO is facing a more fundamental problem: its size and its sluggishness. Negotiating rounds focused on removing tariffs have become increasingly complex. And because everything is up for negotiation at the same time, every member state can paralyze the process by simply exercising its veto. The Doha Round, launched in 2001, is a perfect example: It never achieved any results and has become symbolic of the WTO’s failure.

“The problems are coming from the behavior of a single country that would like to return to the jungle.”

War Is Over! (f You Want It)

What? That was it? No more trade war hysteria? Just when it was starting to get interesting? What Luschen (duds).

EU

The Wall Street Journal reported that Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, has been in talks recently with the chief executives of German car makers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, where they pitched the idea of ending car tariffs between the U.S. and the EU.

During these talks, the executives said they would be in favor of scrapping these levies as part of a broader deal encompassing industrial goods, the Journal said.

“Germany has the right approach to resolving this trade disagreement among friends.”

Germany Preparing Itself To Lose The Next “Illegal” War

A Vicious Cycle – Berlin Worried about Losing Trump’s Trade War.

War

The U.S. has followed through with its threat to impose punitive tariffs on European steel and aluminum and the signs are pointing to a global trade war. The German government is doing what it can to prevent harm to its automobile industry.

… The German automotive industry would also be hard hit by a possible trade war with the U.S., where the most cars are sold in the world after China. German carmakers export around a half-million vehicles to the U.S. each year — particularly the kinds of expensive sedans that have been a thorn in Trump’s side for decades. If punitive tariffs are imposed, carmakers would likely have no choice but to react with higher prices and thus risk a decline in sales. VW subsidiary Porsche is especially at risk. Although the company sells almost a quarter of its vehicles in the country, it does not operate any factories of its own in the U.S.

“Germany stands to lose most.”

Trump To Follow Germany’s Lead

After Germany introduced a ban on German vehicles in the city of Hamburg today, President Donald Trump has announced plans to do the same in US-Amerika, as well. Sort of.

Trump

A report that U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pursue German carmakers until there are no Mercedes-Benz rolling down New York’s Fifth Avenue dented shares in the luxury car manufacturers on Thursday.

An excerpt from German magazine Wirtschaftswoche’s article, which cited several unnamed European and U.S. diplomats but did not include any direct quotes, could not be independently verified, while a United States Embassy spokesman in Berlin referred questions to Washington.

The news and current affairs magazine said Trump had told French President Emmanuel Macron in April that he aimed to push German carmakers out of the United States altogether. Macron’s administration in Paris declined to comment on the report.

Eine harte Antwort wäre für die deutsche Wirtschaft riskant: US-Präsident Trump hat neben den Metall-Zöllen auch Zölle auf ausländische Autos ins Spiel gebracht.

BREAKING NEWS: Germans Are More Negative Than Americans

When it comes to German-American relations, I mean. Like holy Scheiße! Who would have ever expected that?

Germans

And here I thought Germans were such positive, can-do people who  have always been so, you know, upbeat and cheerful about German-American relations. In the past, I mean. Right? This just doesn’t make any sense. It’s just not their nature. Somebody should double-check these numbers.

6 charts on how Germans and Americans view one another

1. Americans think U.S.-German relations are in good shape, but Germans disagree.

2. German attitudes toward the U.S. have turned sharply negative in the Trump era.

3. Merkel gets positive reviews from Americans, especially Democrats.

4. Many Germans see the U.S. as a top foreign policy partner; fewer Americans feel the same way about Germany.

5. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to see Germany as an important partner for foreign policy.

6. There are transatlantic differences about defense spending.

Only 11% of Germans expressed confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs in 2017, down from 86% for Obama in 2016.

But Nobody Said We Couldn’t Do It Until Now

Trump is right about trade and Merkel needs to do something about it, former German state secretary says.

Trade

In early March, Trump started by implementing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports — measures that did not represent a big impact for China, but did for countries like Japan and potentially Europe too.

Germany has also faced international criticism for its trade surplus, which means its exports outweigh its imports, as some see it as unfair, imbalanced and a cause for protectionism elsewhere.

“Germany is really out there as the main culprit, so to say, because Germany has the highest surplus, much higher than China in terms of GDP… Germany has to do something against it, that’s absolutely clear,”

“Trump is awful but…”

“He’s right.”

Handelsbilanz

Uh-oh. All bets are off now. I may have found a German economist who is willing to take an unpopular stand and defend certain aspects of the Trump administration’s policy. Unpopular? Sacrilegious is more like it, right?

“On one side there’s the EU with a trade surplus that is mostly supplied by the huge German surplus. On the other side is the USA that has been living with deficits for 30 years. Germany is the world’s largest surplus country and the USA is the world’s largest deficit country. The trade practiced between these two national economies may be free but it is not efficient. This criticism of the German undervaluation strategy – that is, the relatively weak salary increases combined with a weak euro – has been around since presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Politicians in Congress have warned about making trade deals with notorious surplus countries. Trump is just the first one to do anything about it.”

“Every country can do whatever it wants – but not when it is part of a currency union in which there are no exchange rates that could be adjusted. Germany procures an advantage in global trade not just due to the quality of its products vis-a-vis its EU partners, the USA and other countries. In the past 15 years salaries in Germany have remained far behind productivity. We gain advantages over other national economies through wage dumping.”

“Will the punitive tariffs have a real effect on the German economy? Not so quickly. They have just been little needle pricks up until now. But if the EU now pursues the loud-mouth announcements made by Commission President Jean-Claud Juncker and reacts with its own punitive tariffs it is possible that the USA’s reaction will be more massive. Yet Trump is merely following a very simple rule here that no one in Germany wants to believe: The losers in such a trade conflict will be the trade surplus countries and the winners will be the deficit countries.”

Aber wenn die EU jetzt den großmäuligen Ankündigungen des EU-Kommissionspräsidenten Jean-Claude Juncker folgt und mit eigenen Strafzöllen reagiert, kann es sein, dass die USA noch massiver reagieren. Trump folgt doch einer einfachen Regel, die in Deutschland niemand wahr haben will: Verlieren werden in einem solchen Handelskonflikt die Handelsüberschussländer und gewinnen werden die Defizitländer.