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German businesses working on response to US Nord Stream 2 sanctions — association

The US embassy in Berlin has already started to invite companies for discussions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia

BERLIN, July 22. /TASS/. The German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) calls for retaliatory measures in connection with the US plans to toughen sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia, OAOEV chief Michael Harms said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe published on Wednesday.

"Up until now, we warned against harsh retaliatory measures regarding the United States, because we don’t want to find ourselves embroiled into the spiral of sanctions. Now we have a different opinion about that," he said.

"We are actively working on practical proposals. They may vary from clear diplomatic statements and compensation for local firms to protective retaliatory sanctions," the OAOEV chief said.

At the same time, Harms said that the US plans make no specific mention of any company at the moment.

The US embassy in Berlin has started to invite companies for discussions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia, according to the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV)’s data.

"The US embassy in Berlin has already been imperatively proposing dates for negotiations to certain companies," Harms said

"We view such actions as not suitable for partners," he added. "In this regard, we closely coordinate our actions with the German government."

"We view threats of sanctions on behalf of the United States as a dangerous precedent," the OAOEV chief continued.

According to Harms, German businesses still view Nord Stream 2 as an "extremely important" project.

"It will help to ensure gas supplies, maintain low prices and help in protecting the climate," the German expert said.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives of the US Congress adopted the National Defense Authorization Act for the next fiscal year, which obliges the administration to toughen sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipeline projects.

The Nord Stream 2 project contemplates construction of two gas pipeline strings with the total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters per year from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The gas pipeline is 93% complete to date. The construction was suspended at the end of 2019 when Swiss pipe-laying company Allseas stopped work due to US sanctions.

The German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) is the major regional initiative of the German economy for 29 countries in Central Europe, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia. The OAOEV supports its members in their projects, arranges contacts and answers questions about market entry. The OAOEV was founded in May 2018 through the merging of the Eastern Committee (founded in 1952) and the Eastern Europe Business Association of Germany (founded in 1989). It is supported by six central associations of German business and has around 350 member companies.