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German Businessmen Say ‘No’ to Sanctions Against Russia

May 2, 2014 (EIRNS)—What has been made evident is that if German Chancellor Angela Merkel capitulates to Obama's demands for more sanctions against Russia, she will be doing that at the cost of undermining German industry. Several of the biggest names in German business, including chemical giant BASF, engineering group Siemens AG, Volkswagen AG, Adidas AG, and Deutsche Bank AG have made their opposition to broader economic sanctions against Russia clear in recent weeks, both in public and in private.

"If there's a single message we have as business leaders, then it's this: sit down at the negotiating table and resolve these matters peacefully," Eckhard Cordes, a former Daimler AG executive who now heads the Ostausschuss, the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, told a recent conference in Berlin, the Wall Street Journal website reported today. "There's no question that Germany's economic interests would be best served by avoiding sanctions," said Klaus-Jürgen Gern, an economist at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IFW), a leading economic institute in Germany.

The article also pointed out that as the Ukraine crisis has worsened, German officials have faced a barrage of telephone calls from senior corporate executives, urging them not to take steps that would damage business interests in Russia, people familiar with the matter say.

But the opposition to the sanctions against Russia is not prevalent only among the German business leaders, but is also present among American business leaders. On May 1, PepsiCo Inc. Chief Executive and Chairman Indra Nooyi canceled plans to participate in a forum to generate support for more sanctions against Moscow. The company said that the change of plans was due to a scheduling conflict rather than political tensions. ExxonMobil said it is pushing ahead with its plans to drill in Russia's Arctic seas—its biggest opportunity to discover oil and gas—though deteriorating relations between Moscow and the U.S. have increased the risks.