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The U.S., accused by German business forum of trying to stimulate energy exports to Europe

Plans for tighter U.S. sanctions against Russia could harm European companies with energy interests in their giant eastern neighbour and appeared designed to stimulate U.S. energy exports to Europe, a German business forum said on Thursday.

At a Berlin press conference, the German Committee on East European Economic Relations said the possibility of European counter-sanctions against the U.S. should be kept open as “a very last option” if firms in Europe were affected.

The committee, a fierce critic of the sanctions passed earlier this week by U.S. lawmakers, revised upward to 20 percent its forecast for growth in German exports to Russia this year, from 10 percent growth expected previously.


German economy minister: U.S. has abandoned common line on Russian sanctions

New sanctions against Russia being proposed by United States lawmakers could harm German companies and add another difficulty to Berlin’s relationship with Washington, Germany economy minister Brigitte Zypries said on Thursday.

“The U.S. has left the common line it had with Europe for sanctions against Russia,” Zypries told ARD television, adding that by not coordinating with Europe on the matter, there was a risk that German companies would be harmed.

German business leaders warn that new sanctions passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives could prevent German companies from working on pipeline projects that they say are essential to Germany’s energy security.

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