Angela Merkel hits out at Donald Trump as she warns Davos against ‘populist poison’ of protectionism

The US president is expected to speak about his ‘America First’ policy at Davos on Friday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 January, 2018, 11:41pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 January, 2018, 11:42pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted Wednesday “protectionism is not the answer” to world problems, addressing the Davos economic summit two days before US President Donald Trump appeared to defend his “America First” agenda.

“We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the answer,” Merkel said in a speech in the Swiss resort.

“Let us not shut off from others, let us keep pace with the best in the world and let us canvas for this multilateral approach.”

US officials get busy telling Davos how ‘America First’ can coexist with free trade

She spoke a day before the arrival of Trump, whose aggressive trade policies have raised concern among defenders of globalisation.

She had dragged herself away from fraught efforts to form a new government at home in Germany and took the stage at the World Economic Forum a day ahead of Trump’s arrival.

She added her voice to other world leaders at the summit to defend the liberal international order after a year of protectionist rhetoric by the US president.

Trump angered China and South Korea this week with new tariffs on solar panels and large washing machines.

He is expected to close the annual Davos conference with a speech on Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron was due to speak later on Wednesday.

Top US officials said Wednesday that his trip was intended to defend US interests while also promoting international ties