May 22, 2017 / 12:05 PM / 4 months ago

German exports to U.S. jump despite protectionist threat

Shipping terminals and containers are pictured in the German harbour of Bremerhaven, late October 8, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/Files

BERLIN (Reuters) - German exports to the United States jumped 8 percent on the year in the first quarter of 2017, data showed on Monday, signalling that bilateral trade is flourishing despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric.

U.S. customers bought goods from Europe’s biggest economy worth 29.1 billion euros ($32.5 billion), keeping the U.S. as the biggest client for ‘Made in Germany’ products, Federal Statistics Office figures reviewed by Reuters showed.

Since German clients imported much less U.S. goods from January-March, Germany’s trade surplus with the United States swelled to nearly 14 billion euros in the first quarter. This is the biggest bilateral surplus with a single country for Germany.

Germany’s export strength, the U.S. trade deficit and measures to protect producers with import tariffs will rank high on the agenda during talks between Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries and U.S. counterparts such as Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer in Washington this week.

Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the G20 group of the world’s biggest developed and developing countries, advocates an order of free and open trade based on the jointly agreed rules by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and the dispute about the benefits of free trade are likely to also dominate the agenda of the G20 summit to be held in Hamburg in July - even though initial concerns among German politicians and business managers in Europe’s economic powerhouse have eased.

($1 = 0.8949 euros)

Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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