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German companies reported an increase in trade barriers

GERMANY (OBSERVATORY) –¬†German companies are facing trade barriers that have not been observed since the financial crisis of 2008, a survey of the DIHK Chamber of Commerce, showed, Reuters reports.

About 40% of the 2,100 firms surveyed said they experienced higher barriers to doing business abroad in the last 12-month period, compared to 31% in the 2017 survey.

The survey was conducted in February before US President Donald Trump introduced tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and proposed duties on Chinese goods. China responded with its own tariff list for imports to the United States.

More stringent requirements for certification and security, as well as higher duties, have been identified as major obstacles to doing business.

Despite the increase in barriers, a quarter of companies said they expect business to improve, as the global economy continues to rise thanks to rebound in the euro zone, North America and many Asian countries.

Only 10% said they expect deterioration.

The most serious barriers were found in Russia, the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and China.

The trade dispute between China and the United States also overshadows the prospects for German exports, which unexpectedly fell in February, showing the largest monthly drop in more than two years.

The DIHK said that the expected exit of the UK from the European Union and the hostility of Trump to free trade continue to create uncertainty for German companies.