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Olaf Scholz on Trump's win: "A fact which we will have to deal with"

Commerce and politics react to Donald Trump's election win - companies concerned mainly about free trade

The world woke up to news Wednesday of “Donald Trump, president-elect of the United States” sending global and German media into a flurry of activity. Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, tweeted: “Political action should not be guided by resentments,” followed by a detailed statement:

“Donald Trump’s election campaign is a fact which we will have to deal with. I would have preferred a different result; but there is no point in moaning now. We have to help ensure now that Europe and the United States do not drift even farther apart. The western alliance is too important for that to happen.”

Fegebank: “Oh my God!”

The leader of the FDP party, Katja Suding, tweeted: “Have just woken up bathed in perspiration from my nightmare only to discover that it has become reality.” The mood was sombre elsewhere as well. Deputy Mayor Katharina Fegebank, Green party, said: “Oh my God! During the past weeks, I did not want to even think of the possibility as I simply could not imagine that.”

Fears of blow to economy and world trade

Fritz Horst Melsheimer, Chamber of Commerce President, said: “The U.S.A is Hamburg’s fifth most important economic partner. If Trump lives us to his pre-election announcements and makes them come true and switches to more isolationist and protectionist economic policies, foreign trade will be dealt a very severe blow over the coming years.” Industries in Hamburg such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering would suffer from higher customs duties and new restrictions on the American market. The TTIP agreement would not be sealed in the foreseeable future, Melsheimer added.

Unforeseeable implications

Dr. Hans Fabian Kruse, president of the AGA business association, commented Tuesday: “Donald Trump’s win will change plenty. But it remains to be seen what it means precisely for the German and European economies. Election campaign bluster is luckily not yet real politics. The markets will be thrown into turmoil briefly amid the perceived uncertainty, but will calm down again.”

“U.S. politics have always promoted the tourist industry as a key economic factor. Hamburg will work actively on making the city better known in the U.S. and to encourage Americans to come to Hamburg on a trip,“ said Michael Otremba, Manager of Hamburg Tourismus GmbH.

Appeal from Nordmetall

Thomas Lambusch, president of Nordmetall, said Tuesday: “In his first speech as president-elect, Donald Trump has indicated that he is aware of the responsibility of his new office. That lets north German employers in the metal and electrical industries hope that the 45th president of the United States is also committed to furthering German-American friendship. It is a foundation crucial to retaining and expanding trade and change between the U.S. and Germany.”

Free trade and its concretisation in contracts such as the envisaged TTIP deal, not protectionism and customs’ barriers, would secure jobs and livelihoods on both sides of the Atlantic, Lambusch said. He added: “We urge the president-elect Donald Trump: ‘Take your motto, Make America Great Again, seriously and do not give halfhearted isolationist tendencies any chance. Both the American and north German economies need stable framework conditions and reliable partners. The United States remains, ahead of China, the most important non European market for companies in the north German metal and electric industries.”

Trump coming to Hamburg

Trump’s first visit to Hamburg has already been scheduled for July 7, 2017 when he will land at Hamburg’s Helmut Schmidt Airport aboard Air Force One to attend the G20 meeting of heads of states and governments in the city. John Kerry, incumbent U.S. Secretary of State, will attend the OSCE summit on December 8-9, 2016 in Hamburg.

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