Donald Trump has attacked Germans for being “bad, very bad” and vowed to limit US car imports from the country. “Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We will stop this,” German news magazine Der Spiegel quoted Mr Trump as saying, citing people who attended the talks.
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised Germany’s large trade surplus with the US, which he said hurts US manufacturers. In January, he threatened to hit German car imports with a 35 per cent tax.
“If you go down Fifth Avenue everyone has a Mercedes Benz in front of his house,” he told Germany’s Bild newspaper in January.
“I would tell BMW that if you are building a factory in Mexico and plan to sell cars to the USA, without a 35 per cent tax, then you can forget that,” Mr Trump said.
“How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not very many, maybe none at all … it’s a one-way street.”
BMW chief executive Harald Krueger, later pointed out that his company’s biggest plant worldwide is in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Shares in German car manufacturers Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW shares fell slightly in Frankfurt trading on Friday.
European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, who was at the meeting, dismissed the claims about Mr Trump’s remarks, which he said had been exaggerated.
“He did not say that the Germans were behaving badly,” Mr Juncker told reporters in Sicily ahead of the G7 talks.