Nord Stream - 2: Business in Germany Requires Countermeasures against the United States

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According to the executive director of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy, the response to US sanctions can range from clear diplomatic statements to protective sanctions. The Eastern Committee - the Eastern European Association of the German Economy (OAOEV) - is pushing for countermeasures if the United States imposes sanctions on the participants in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will link Russia and Germany. Michael Harms, executive director of a lobbying association representing the interests of German firms working, in particular, in the Russian market, said this in an interview with the Funke group publications, published on Wednesday, July 22. “We have continuously warned against stiff response measures against the United States because we did not want to find ourselves within a sanction spiral. Now we have a different look at the matter,” Harms stressed. According to him, the German foreign trade association is working on specific proposals. “These can range from clear diplomatic statements to compensations for local companies and protective response sanctions,” Harms explained. He warned that the US administration is preparing to freeze the accounts of companies involved in the project and may extend the restrictions against banks financing the construction. US sanctions are a “dangerous precedent” The US Embassy in Berlin is pushing “a number of firms” to set a specific time frame for these steps, warned Harms, who described the approach as “odd”. The OAOEV chief executive called the announced US restrictions “a dangerous precedent”. “The EU should effectively counteract (such measures. - Ed.). We cannot allow other countries to come to the same decision,” he warned. Earlier, on July 20, the House of Representatives of the US Congress voted in favor of an amendment providing for the introduction of sanctions against participants, who will help complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream gas pipelines. The amendment is provided for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2021 fiscal year (starting in the US on October 1 - Ed.). It was approved unanimously. The amendment, in particular, refers to the introduction of restrictive measures against foreign persons, who largely facilitate the sale, lease or provision of pipe-laying vessels intended for the construction of these pipelines. Before the new sanctions take effect, the NDAA must be approved by the US Senate and signed by President Donald Trump.