Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

America First, But Germany Second

If Trump wants a Europe that takes care of its own needs, he needs a strong partner in Berlin.

Donald Trump’s relationship with Angela Merkel has gotten off to a rocky start. Trump has, effectively, singled out Germany and its chancellor as his main nemesis in Europe. He has criticized her for her policy toward refugees, for an unfair trade policy, and for a lack of leadership in Europe. For its part, the German government, alongside many of its European … [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Election2017 Europe inequality ZEIT ONLINE op-ed column

Trump’s brand of populism feeds on frustration and fear

January 20, 2017 is a historic day, with Donald Trump’s entry into office as the 45th U.S. President marking the beginning of a new era. Yet his inauguration is accompanied, at least among certain political circles, by a widespread anticipation of his failure – as well as the belief that it’s only a matter of time until everyone else catches on.

The prospect of a Trump presidency is generating collective concern around the globe: since he was elected in … [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Curse of the Trade Surplus

This text was published in Handelsblatt Global Edition on February 13, 2017.

The criticism of Germany’s trade surpluses by the U.S. government has caused collective indignation here at home. Much of the criticism is not fair. Accusations that Germany manipulates the euro and misuses the European Union for its own interests are unwarranted. But there is also a kernel of truth that our European neighbors have been voicing for a long time: Germany’s trade surplus is tantamount to protectionism. That’s … [continue reading]

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Statement on the Election of Donald Trump as US President

I expect the German economy to withstand the challenges arising from a Trump presidency. German companies are competitive, flexible and well diversified globally. I don’t expect that Germany’s trade with the USA will suffer significantly. My main concern is the European economy, which is still mired in a deep economic and financial crisis. The US election makes it more urgent than ever to speed up reforms and give the European economy a growth stimulus. I expect the euro to appreciate [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Investment, not the surplus, is Germany’s big problem

This article was first published on on 18th November 2013.

Germany is under attack from the US government, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission for its huge current account surplus. The criticism is right, but for the wrong reasons. The surplus is excessive, but the accusation that it hurts Europe is nonsense. Worse, it distracts German policy makers from tackling the true cause of the national surplus and the country’s economic Achilles heel: its huge private investment … [continue reading]

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Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

EU-US free trade deal could be costly

Published in Financial Times (21st of February 2013)

There is a lot of hype about the prospects of an EU-US free trade agreement, especially in the wake of Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week. Supporters point to the benefits such an agreement could bring to both economies. Yet the costs are likely to outweigh the benefits. Most importantly, a transatlantic deal will undermine multilateralism, in particular the long-overdue completion of the Doha round, and weaken multilateral institutions … [continue reading]

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