Federal Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) traveled to the United States on Wednesday as the first federal minister since US President Joe Biden took office.
The basics in brief
- Topics of discussions are mainly climate protection and trade policy.
It was a “visit to friends,” Altmaier said before leaving Berlin. The planned talks are primarily about climate protection, jobs and trade policy.
As Altmaier said, “It is also about the resumption of transatlantic relations.” Germany is ready to cooperate: “The US government has an outstretched hand and we will take that hand.”
Altmaier said he brought in a “small package for climate protection”; The Bundestag will tighten climate protection measures in Germany this week, and the country will be “climate neutral” earlier. The government is providing eight billion euros in additional new money for climate protection measures; A significant part of this should go to the construction of energy measures in order to reduce heating costs for citizens.
The fact that he would be the first federal secretary to travel to the United States “was not planned.” Altmaier said the reason is that US special climate envoy John Kerry is only available for talks in Washington on Thursday. “I wanted to use that, there’s a lot in motion” in climate policy, he said.
In trade policy, the goal is to be able to “step by step” to resolve the “accumulated disputes” since the era of US President Donald Trump. With the conflict defused over aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, a good compromise was reached, Altmaier said.
When US President Joe Biden visited Brussels in mid-July, both sides pledged to waive punitive tariffs for five years. “It is important that I make all the other points clear with me,” Altmaier said.
Trump also imposed punitive tariffs in the billions on steel and aluminum from Europe in June 2018. After being replaced by Biden, the Europeans decided not to impose further counter-tariffs worth billions on American goods from June 1, in order to create space for negotiations. Altmaier said there won’t be such big deals so soon before the start of the summer break – “we are preparing the way now” for the deals we hope will be reached in the coming months.
It will also discuss the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the US – “among friends,” he emphasized.