BERLIN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Germany will need a new economic strategy geared toward Asia should the new U.S. administration start a trade war with China, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday, warning of a "rough ride" hours after President Donald Trump was sworn in.
"What we heard today were high nationalistic tones," Gabriel said in an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF, in the first official German reaction to Trump's inauguration. "I think we have to prepare for a rough ride."
He added that Trump "was extremely serious" in his inauguration speech, which meant he would follow his promises on trade and other issues with actions.
Europe and Germany must stand together "to defend our interests."
The United States is Germany's biggest trading partner and Trump has warned that his administration will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market. (Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Sabine Ehrhardt; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)