Martin Kannegiesser, CEO of Kannegiesser and the honorary president of the German employers' association Gesamtmetall, was reported in the German press as being sharply critical of the decision by the USA to impose tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.

In an interview with the Bielefeld-based Neue Westfälische (Wednesday 24 Jan edition), Martin Kannegiesser said: "If the US now begins to tariff selectively on areas where US industry is not so successful, they break a principle that we all developed after the Second World War."

The US administration recently decided in favour of the introduction of trade barriers on the imports of washing machines and solar products. This move was based on a World Trade Organisation rule that allows countries to re-introduce trade barriers in those cases where evidence clearly suggests that “a domestic industry is injured or threatened with injury caused by a surge in imports”.

Herbert Kannegiesser GmbH, based in Vlotho manufactures industrial washing machines. According to Martin Kannegiesser, US washing machines are only cheaper than German ones because American manufacturers have not brought any new developments to the market in the past 30 years. Kannegiesser warned that the USA would trigger reactions worldwide and that a protectionist world economy will also have consequences for the USA.