President Trump complained that the “unfair” terms of the Paris Climate Accord made it difficult for American manufacturers to compete globally. Protecting and expanding those jobs was the primary reason offered for his withdrawal. He should now write a thank-you note to Germany’s powerful auto industry lobby, the VBA (Verband der Autoindustrie), which just validated his argument. Reuters reports:
Germany's powerful car industry said Europe would need to reassess its environmental standards to remain competitive after the United States said it would withdraw from the Paris climate pact. (snip)
"The regrettable announcement by the USA makes it inevitable that Europe must facilitate a cost efficient and economically feasible climate policy to remain internationally competitive," Matthias Wissmann, president of the German auto industry lobby group VDA, said in a statement on Friday.
"The preservation of our competitive position is the precondition for successful climate protection. This correlation is often underestimated," Wissmann said, adding that the decision by the Unites [sic] States was disappointing.
In other words, President Trump’s actions have restored competitiveness to American auto producers, exactly as promised. The German industry now recognizes it will lose market share and competitiveness if it remains shackled to Paris. All of a sudden, they claim that it is possible to protect the environment without the Paris measures ("The preservation of our competitive position is the precondition for successful climate protection.”)
The VBA is not simply a representative of the big assemblers like Mercedes and Volkswagen, but also 600 mittelstand parts and components producers, who add 70% of the value of a German car. This is the very heart of the German machinery sector, which is its economic champion. The most important industry group is telling Merkel that their prosperity depends on following some of the leadership of President Trump on Paris (even though they would never put it this way. Merkel has staked out the position of Trump’s critic.)
How about a tweet thanking the VBA for making your point, Mr. President?