German industry body urges clear rules for post-Brexit trade

The German economy needs clear rules to regulate trade with post-Brexit Britain, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said in a paper published on Tuesday.

The DIHK sets out its main goal as “the closest possible configuration of new trade relations with the United Kingdom.”

Britain wants to negotiate a new trading relationship with the European Union by the end of the year after leaving the bloc on January 31.

The German industry body calls for steps to strengthen the position of European companies in global trade and says that bolstering the World Trade Organization (WTO) is “of fundamental importance.”

The EU requires a functioning set of instruments in order to take effective countermeasures against unfair practices such as dumping, illegal subsidies or punitive tariffs violating WTO rules, the DIHK said.

The EU speaks for its member states, Germany included, when it comes to international trade matters.

“It is also clear that it is essential to maintain the WTO and in particular its dispute settlement function,” the DIHK wrote.

“Without this, the WTO rules are in danger of amounting to nothing.”

The WTO, which has worked to prevent international trade wars for 25 years, has been blocked from delivering final trade dispute rulings since December, due to a row with the United States, which is pushing for reform of the organization.

The crisis, in the view of the DIHK, lends urgency to securing bilateral trade agreements between the EU and other countries. The German trade association is calling for the ratification of deals with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, Mexico and Vietnam, as well as progress with talks in the Asia-Pacific region.

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