The chief executive of German industrial giant Siemens said today he was concerned about protectionist United States policy under Donald Trump, saying the country had been built by immigrants. “What we’re hearing from the States at the moment worries us, worries me personally, because it doesn’t fit with this country,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told a press conference in Munich, adding that the US was “known for its free movement, its openness.”
“America became great thanks to immigrants,” he went on. Newly-installed president Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall on the US border with Mexico, signed an executive order to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough new controls on travellers from seven Muslim countries.
He has also threatened to impose heavy border taxes on manufactured goods from outside the country, especially Mexico. Germany, too, has been targeted by the new US administration, with Trump’s top trade advisor accusing Berlin of keeping the euro undervalued to make its exports cheaper in an interview yesterday.
Kaeser would not be drawn on possible consequences of US protectionism for Siemens, saying that despite the rhetoric, Trump has “a very good team of advisors”. With 50,000 employees at 60 factories in the US and some USD 30 billion invested in the past 10 years, the group “is concentrating on its customers,” he said.
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The manufacturer, whose products include trains, wind turbines, and medical equipment reported a 25-per cent boost to profits in the first quarter of its financial year 2016-17 at 1.9 billion euros (USD 2.0 billion). Siemens took in 19.1 billion euros in revenue in its first three months, up 1.0 per cent, pointing to “modest” revenue growth for the whole financial year.
Executives would not be drawn today on the forthcoming flotation of Siemens’ medical devices business, known as Healthineers. “We’ll let you know as soon as there’s something new,” finance director Ralf Thomas said, refusing to say whether the listing would happen in 2017 or 2018.
Siemens also said today that Jim Hagemann Snabe, former head of software firm SAP, would take the head of its supervisory board from 2018 if approved by shareholders.