BERLIN German industry associations on Friday criticised U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a landmark agreement to fight climate change, warning that the move would harm the global economy and lead to market distortions.
Trump said on Thursday the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate deal, a move that fulfilled a major campaign pledge but drew condemnation from global leaders and executives.
He said his administration would begin talks either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new deal with better terms for the United States.
"Trump's climate refusal harms the economy," said Thilo Brodtmann, Managing Director of Germany's VDMA engineering industry association, adding that Trump was "putting campaign promises over the long-term interests of the world community."
This would harm the economy as well as the environment, since the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can go hand in hand with economic growth if companies have planning certainty for investing in efficient technologies, he added.
"Europe and its allies, as well as important federal states and companies in the U.S., must now hold their course," Brodtmann said. In the long term, Europe would profit from its investment in climate-friendly technologies.
Germany's DIHK Chambers of Commerce warned that some U.S. companies could gain short-term advantages by Trump's decision to pull out of the climate deal.
"Climate protection can be pushed forward in an effective and competetion-friendly way only by all states," said DIHK President Eric Schweitzer.
Schweitzer said other countries should stick to their commitments, but warned that attempting to compensate for the U.S. withdrawal by other countries redoubling their commitments would be self-defeating.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Toby Chopra)