By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
A German delegation made a stop in Montgomery on Wednesday, part of a multi-state visit to try and ensure future automotive business between the two countries.
That business is particularly important to both Alabama and the German state of Baden-Württemberg, where Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut serves as minister of economic affairs, labour and housing. Hoffmeister-Kraut led the delegation on visits to Alabama, California and Washington D.C.
At a press conference at the Alabama Capitol Building on Wednesday, she said the visits, particularly the ones with Alabama lawmakers, had gone well. But she expressed continued concerns over the comments and behaviors of President Donald Trump.
“German (automakers) invest $8.4 billion into this region,” Hoffmeister-Kraut said. “We have plans to invest another $1 billion (by way of Mercedes Benz plant expansion). We have been very concerned by the comments from President Trump.”
Trump earlier this year, in a closed-door meeting, was caught by a German news outlet saying that “the Germans are bad, very bad,” and that his administration would put a stop to the millions of cars the country’s automakers sell in the U.S.
Hoffmeister-Kraut said additional comments made by Trump concerning NAFTA changes, particularly related to the origin of automobiles and auto parts, have concerned many in Germany.
“It’s something we view very critically,” she said.
However, she said that meetings during their stops in D.C. and Alabama, particularly with Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Terri Sewell went “very well.”
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said officials in the state, including its Congressional delegation, have been meeting with the White House and other officials to explain the state’s position and the impact trade with Germany has on Alabama’s economy.
“Alabama is standing very firm with what’s important to this state,” Canfield said. “Trade is very important. We want to help educate the administration where we can on what’s important here.”