Ger­man in­dus­try says vul­ner­a­ble to Rus­sia sanc­tions fall-out

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Plans un­der con­sid­er­a­tion in the US Congress to im­pose tougher sanc­tions against Rus­sia would hurt Ger­man com­pa­nies, en­dan­ger Ger­many’s en­ergy se­cu­rity and ap­pear to be de­signed to favour Amer­i­can firms, a Ger­man in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion said yes­ter­day.

The US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives voted over­whelm­ingly on Tues­day for the plans and to force Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to ob­tain law­mak­ers’ per­mis­sion be­fore eas­ing any sanc­tions on Moscow. They must still be ap­proved by the Se­nate and signed into law by Trump.

The warn­ing is­sued by the Ger­man Cham­ber of In­dus­try and Com­merce mir­rors wider Euro­pean con­cerns over po­ten­tial fall-out from the US moves to pun­ish al­leged Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The US pro­pos­als could hurt Ger­man ef­forts to make its en­ergy sup­ply more re­li­able by pre­vent­ing Ger­man com­pa­nies from work­ing with Rus­sia on pipe­line projects, said Volker Treier, the head of the Cham­ber’s in­ter­na­tional com­mit­tee.

“One is left with the sense that the United States is look­ing to its own eco­nomic in­ter­ests,” in par­tic­u­lar with re­spect to US oil and gas com­pa­nies, he said.

Separately, a Ger­man For­eign Min­istry spokesman said on Wed­nes­day it would be un­ac­cept­able for the United States to use pos­si­ble sanc­tions against Rus­sia as a tool of in­dus­trial pol­icy and called for close co­or­di­na­tion of pro­posed sanc­tions be­tween the Euro­pean Union and Wash­ing­ton.

De­spite ten­sions with Moscow over its back­ing for sep­a­ratists in Ukraine, most of cen­tral Europe re­lies on Rus­sian gas to power its econ­omy, de­liv­ered via a lat­ice­work of pipe­lines that re­quire con­stant main­te­nance and ex­pan­sion. Treier called on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the EU’s ex­ec­u­tive, to seek clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the United States over the the even­tual scope of the sanc­tions.

Ear­lier on Wed­nes­day Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU was ready to act “within a mat­ter of days” if the pro­posed new US sanc­tions un­der­mined the bloc’s en­ergy se­cu­rity. It is un­clear how quickly the US bill will make its way to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. Trump faces al­le­ga­tions that he ben­e­fited from al­leged med­dling by Moscow in the 2016 elec­tion. —Reuters

JAKARTA: Work­ers are seen on a build­ing con­struc­tion site in Jakarta yes­ter­day.—AFP

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