Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership will have wide-reaching effects on trade, not only for countries involved in the agreement, but those outside of it as well. Germany for one, believes that Trump's decision will work in its favour by opening doors to new trade deals.

In a 24 January interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel pointed out that "if Trump starts a trade war with Asia and South America, it will open opportunities for us".

"Trump must simply recognise that the US economy often isn't competitive, while the German (economy) is," he said, pointing to Trump's threat to impose a 35% tariff on German cars that are manufactured in Mexico.

"Germany should act with self-confidence and not be fearful or servile," Gabriel said. "We are a highly successful, technologically-advanced export nation with many hard-working people and smart companies."

Barely 10% of German exports go to the United States, while 60% go to other countries in Europe.

"You can see the weight of our economic interests."

The leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Gabriel is expected to run against Chancellor Angela Merkel in the September elections and has become more vocal about the leadership role Germany will take on, specifically once the UK leaves the European Union.

"Now is the time to strengthen Europe," he said. "Brexit could provide the decisive impulse" that would strengthen the resolve among the euro-zone member states, to increase their cooperation.

Sigmar Gabriel
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that Germany should not be fearful of the US Getty images