German Machine Makers Look to Trump’s Rebuilding Plan for Boost

  • Welcker of VDMA industry group sees no negatives in short term
  • Cites Trump’s hostility to trade as greater concern over time

Global Free Trade Is in Danger, Says VDMA's Welcker

Donald Trump’s presidency will lend a boost to German manufacturers if he carries out his pledges for infrastructure spending, an industry leader said.

Carl Martin Welcker, director of Germany’s VDMA Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, said that while he’s concerned about the U.S. president-elect’s opposition to global trade agreements, he sees potential benefits in the U.S. market.

“At least for the short term, I don’t think that the Trump presidency will have
a negative effect on the German industry,” Welcker said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Berlin on Friday. “If Trump really initiates big spending programs, the members of my association will profit from that, too. We are not that afraid about Trump’s short-term policies.”

Trump’s pledge that his administration will oversee a $1 trillion infrastructure program has buoyed global markets amid optimism that an acceleration in the U.S. economy will drive flagging growth in other regions. European growth has been held back in the wake of the euro area’s debt crisis.

Welcker, whose VDMA calls itself the largest industry association in Europe with 3,100 medium-sized companies, said Trump is part of a dangerous drift toward protectionism. That’s of particular concern in Germany, where exports account for the highest share of gross domestic product among the Group of Seven advanced economies.

“Global free trade as a whole is in danger. It’s not just Donald Trump being
skeptical about trade, but you see it almost everywhere,” he said. “In the long run, I think the Americans will see -- and also Donald Trump will see -- the benefits of global trade.”

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