German officials visit Mercedes, survey impact of Trump’s tariffs

German officials at Mercedes plant

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Governor Kay Ivey joined German officials on a tour of Mercedes Benz U-S International plant in West Alabama.

Alabama’s relationship with German companies has blossomed into $10 billion worth of investments since Mercedes built its first U-S plant here. But leaders fear one thing could hurt that partnership.

Tariffs on German cars built here, could hurt the car manufacturers and people who build them.

"High tariffs are not the answer. And I have said this to the White House, to President Trump and Vice President Pence," Governor told a group of media who attended the visit.

There are now more than 70 German companies in Alabama that have created 17,000 jobs.

Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy worries about the effect tariffs could have on that.

"I believe it would be a waste of time if we would see each other as rivals countries and rival nations. If we would try getting some competitive advantage using customs and tariffs and market access in order to develop our economies," Altmaier explained.

Governor Ivey called the ongoing partnership between this state and that country transformational for the people of Alabama.

"Because of the foreign investment by Mercedes Benz, Alabama is now one of the largest auto producing states in the South."

Altmaier is visiting German based companies in America to see how tariffs could raise their cost of doing business in the United States.

He’s also visited Silicon Valley and has spent time in Washington DC during his trip.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.