German Economics Minister Brigitte Zypries on Thursday warned of the impact of new US sanctions against Russia on German companies, particularly those in the energy sector and with business ties with Russia.
She told public broadcaster ARD that she thought little of sanctions decided on unilaterally, that is without prior consultation with EU partners.
Zypries warned against a trade war over this latest round of US sanctions against Russia, saying such a situation would be "very bad."
The minister added she hoped the US administration had not agreed the sanctions with a view to harming Europe. "But the upshot of it all is that our companies' interests may be harmed," she argued.
Also on Thursday, The German Committee on East European Economic Relations said US plans for tighter sanctions against Russia had the potential of harming EU firms with energy interests in their giant eastern neighbor.
It went as far as to say that the latest US move appeared designed to stimulate US energy exports to Europe.
The business forum added that the "possibility of European counter-sanctions against the US should be kept open as a very last option," if firms in Europe were affected.
The committee said it expected German exports to Russia to grow by 20 percent this year, up from an earlier forecast of just 10 percent, despite all the EU and US sanctions in place right now over Russia's perceived role in the Ukraine and Syria conflicts.
hg/jd (Reuters, dpa)