German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has issued a warning to US President-elect Donald Trump over the dangers of protectionist trade policies, adding that what he called “fake news” coming out of Russia amounted to a propaganda war.
“Whoever wants growth – and I trust this administration will be a growth-friendly one – must be in favour of open markets,” Schaeuble told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.
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“Protectionism can afford short-term advantages but is almost always damaging in the long term,” he added. The paper said Schaeuble was speaking before the publication of a Trump interview with German daily Bild, in which the president-elect threatened to impose a border tax of 35 percent on vehicles imported to the US market.
Schaeuble also said countries must do more to counter attempts to influence politics via fake news, highlighting the high-profile case of a German-Russian girl who Russian media said was kidnapped and raped by migrants in Berlin, a claim later refuted by German authorities. “Some people are being misled by fake news from Russian-language, state- financed and directed television,” Schaeuble said. “One cannot describe this as anything but a propaganda war.”