Powerful German industrialists urge trade breakthrough or face massive Brexit crisis

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Leaders of Europe’s largest economy warn no trade deal would be a “disaster” for businesses on both sides of the English Channel.

BERLIN — German’s main industry association says political leaders need to make a major breakthrough at upcoming negotiations on ending Britain’s membership in the European Union.

The Federation of German Industries, known as BDI, cautioned Tuesday that a so-called hard Brexit with Britain leaving the bloc with no trade deal would be a “disaster” for businesses on both sides of the English Channel.

BDI head Joachim Lang says “Europe needs to prevent a worst-case Brexit scenario” and be prepared to compromise at the upcoming talks. At the same time, “the prerequisite is that London finally grasps reality.”

He says that “otherwise Europe is in danger of sliding into a disorderly Brexit. A massive crisis would be the consequence.”

Meanwhile, German exports dropped in August over the previous month for the second month in a row in the latest disappointing news about Europe’s largest economy.

The Federal Statistical Office reported Tuesday that exports were down 0.1 percent to 110.3 billion euros ($126.24 billion) in August, in seasonally and calendar adjusted numbers. Imports decreased 2.7 percent to 92 billion euros, widening the adjusted trade surplus to 18.3 billion euros.

In unadjusted terms, the trade surplus was 17.2 billion euros.

Compared to August 2017, exports were up 2.2 percent.

ING economist Carsten Brzeski says “the traditional German growth engine is stuttering once again” with industrial production and exports losing momentum, “but reduced momentum from a high level is still no reason to worry.”

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