April 20, 2018 / 12:24 PM / a year ago

U.S. companies upbeat about business in Germany: survey

BERLIN (Reuters) - Some 82 percent of U.S. companies operating in Germany expect revenues to increase this year, a survey showed on Friday, despite a brewing trade conflict over the U.S. decision to impose tariffs steel and aluminum imports.

FILE PHOTO - Bernhard Mattes is seen at the 88th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

More than half of U.S. companies in the country want to hire extra employees and invest more, the poll published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) showed.

President Donald Trump announced the tariffs last month, causing a global outcry. Germany, along with the rest of the European Union, has been exempted from the higher duties but so far only until May. 1, 2018.

The EU and other U.S. allies worry that the tariffs will limit the amount of their goods getting into the United States and they also fear steel barred from the United States will flood back into their markets, causing a glut.

The AmCham Germany survey found that 61 percent of the U.S. companies with operations in Germany want to boost their activity there in the coming three to four years.

German companies operating in the United States are also optimistic, with about 80 percent expecting rising revenues and 70 percent wanting to increase their activities there.

But they complained about a lack of planning security in the United States, with just over half criticizing a lack of reliability in U.S. politics.

“The results show that both Germany and the USA are still highly valued locations for investment despite the current political discord,” said Bernhard Mattes, president of AmCham Germany.

“Germany attracts U.S. companies with its stable economy and strong domestic consumption. On the other side of the Atlantic measures like the U.S. tax reform have made the USA more attractive for German investors,” he added.

Earlier this year the United States slashed taxes for corporations and the wealthy while giving mixed, temporary tax relief to middle-class Americans under a $1.5 trillion reform.

On Thursday Germany’s leading economic institutes said that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would not dampen German exports if the exemption granted to the EU expires on May 1 without a permanent solution.

Reporting by Rene Wagner; Writing by Michelle Martin; editing by David Stamp

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