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France calls on Germany to hike investment spending

France calls on Germany to hike investment spending

BERLIN: France’s Economy Minister Michel Sapin has dismissed a US attack on Germany’s trade surplus but urged Europe’s biggest economy to boost its spending on investment.

In an interview trailed by the financial daily Handelsblatt for its Monday edition (13 February), Sapin brushed aside US criticism that Germany exploited an “undervalued” euro to fuel its exports. The attack “very obviously is meaningless”, said Sapin.

But, he added, Germany “could be more ambitious” in investment spending. “We think that this would be in the interests both of Germans and the eurozone,” said Sapin, who also holds the French finance portfolio.

Sapin’s words add to external pressure and to an internal debate in Germany about the country’s trade surplus, which has repeatedly broken records since the 2008-9 financial crisis.

Last Thursday, the federal statistics office Destatis said Germany exported €253 billion more than it imported in 2016. Exports added 1.2% to top €1.2tr, while imports climbed 0.6% to €955bn.