STUTTGART (Reuters) - The economic and trade policies of U.S. President Donald Trump are a risk for German car makers, the chief executive of Daimler (DAIGn.DE) said on Tuesday.
“So far there has been no negative effect on our business,” CEO Dieter Zetsche said at a conference. “But of course it is a risk.”
Trump, hoping to protect U.S. car makers, has criticized the import of cars into the United States as unfair trade.
Trump has also thrown the North America Free Trade Agreement with Mexico into question. Mexico plays an important role in production of German cars that are sold in the United States.
Separately, Zetsche addressed a new cartel investigation by European authorities, saying such cooperation with other car makers was for the good of customers and had not harmed them.
“At the end of the day, it isn’t my call. I am an engineer and not a cartel expert,” Zetsche said. “But I know that it was first and foremost about standards and similar issues that in the end helped customers because it increased efficiencies.”
Zetsche said that prominent cartel specialists are of the opinion that there was no cartel behavior.
On Monday, European Union and German antitrust officials searched the offices of Daimler and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), widening an inquiry into alleged collusion.
The EU competition watchdog said in July that it was investigating several German car makers on suspicion they had conspired to fix prices in diesel and other technologies over several decades.
Daimler unexpectedly revealed on Friday that it had claimed whistleblower status to avoid any fines, while Munich-based rival BMW (BMWG.DE) said EU officials searched its offices.
Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by Alison Williams and Jane Merriman