Germany’s main industry federation said U.S. pressure to quash Siemens AG’s $15 billion power-plant deal with Iraq is unacceptable and shows how President Donald Trump’s “America First” stance is corroding business decisions.
Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with General Electric Co. on Oct. 15 after U.S. officials warned Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that U.S.-Iraqi relations would be at risk if his government accepted the deal with Siemens, Bloomberg reported. Adel Jeryan, Iraq’s deputy electricity minister for production and projects, said the country on Saturday had also inked an MOU with Siemens and that both memorandums were non-binding.
“To implement the America First doctrine in this way in the global competition of multinational companies is not acceptable,” Joachim Lang, managing director of the Federation of German Industries, or BDI, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Governments and companies should make deals based on business interests, he said.
While a final decision hasn’t been made and the Iraqi government said approval will be based on the nature of the presented proposals, Siemens said it remains committed to its road map for projects in Iraq. The deal would be a milestone for both industrial conglomerates struggling with their power equipment business.
Until the U.S. intervention, Siemens was considered the front-runner. Siemens Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser, who has a seat on BDI’s expanded executive board, met Abadi in September to discuss plans to revamp Iraq’s power generation and swap out infrastructure built by GE.
German Deputy Economy Minister Thomas Bareiss also lobbied Abadi in September. After the meeting, he touted “long-term contacts and experience in the region by companies such as Siemens” as a way to rebuild the country.
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