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German minister Schäuble to Trump: Protectionism is always damaging

Staff Writer |
Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, has warned U.S. president-elect Donald Trump that protectionist trade policies will cause long-term damage to the global economy.

Trump will move into the White House on Friday after an election campaign in which he promised to rip up trade agreements with the likes of China and Mexico.

Schäuble, one of Germany's most influential lawmakers, also told Trump to tread carefully in how he approaches matters with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

"Whoever wants growth-and I trust this administration will be a growth-friendly one-must be in favour of open markets," Schäuble said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "Protectionism can afford short-term advantages but is almost always damaging in the long term."

Trump gave an interview to the Times newspaper on Sunday in which he threatened Germany with a 35% tariff on cars imported into the United States, as well as saying that he would deal with Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a similar level when he takes office.

He attacked Merkel's government's immigration policies, referring to them as a "catastrophic mistake".

"I have great respect for her, I felt she was a great leader, I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all these illegals and taking all these people where ever they come from and nobody really knows where they come from," Trump said.

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