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Germany's 2016 record trade surplus may lead to more U.S. accusations

Trade surplus for 2016 rose to 252.9 billion euros

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BERLIN, Germany - Germany posted a record trade surplus in 2016, official data showed on Wednesday, which may lead to further accusations by the Trump administration that Europe’s largest economy is exploiting a “grossly undervalued” euro.> BNN

Germany's trade surplus for 2016 rose to 252.9 billion euros ($270.05 billion), surpassing the previous high of 244.3 billion euros in 2015, the Federal Statistics Office said.

Exports climbed 1.2 percent to reach 1.2 trillion euros thanks to strong demand from other EU counties, while imports moved up 0.6 percent to 955 billion euros.

The European nation's latest report will fuel more accusations in the wake of charges by Peter Navarro, head of the White House National Trade Council, who told the Financial Times that Germany is gaining an unfair advantage over the U.S. and other nations by devaluing its currency.

The claim was dismissed by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. 

“The fact that the German economy is exporting much more than it imports is a source of concern and no reason to be proud” because weak imports are the result of a lack of investment, Marcel Fratzscher, head of the DIW economic institute in Berlin, said in a statement. 

“The record surplus will continue to fuel conflict with the U.S. and within the European Union.”

On Wednesday, Merkel said the European Union would have to move ahead with trade deals with other countries if it does not reach an agreement with Trump's administration.

The head of the German exporters’ association, Anton Boerner, meanwhile urged cautioned over Trump’s stance on trade.

“Politicians and business in Germany must take President Trump seriously. He only understands tough language,” Boerner said. 

“It must be made clear that Trump will lose a lot more if we lose.”

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