By Andrea Thomas

BERLIN--Germany's economic growth is set to slow in 2017 to 1.5%, with the uncertainty about the next U.S. administration's trade policy weighing on sentiment, the BDI Federation of German Industry said Tuesday.

The slowdown would follow an estimated 1.9% expansion in 2016.

Exports are seen growing 2% to 3% this year.

"In the light of global political uncertainties, which put our economic nation particularly at risk, future growth is anything but certain," BDI president Dieter Kempf said.

He warned against growing anti free-trade sentiment. "This would hurt the overall global economy and in particularly, the export-orientated German economy."President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized free-trade policies and urged companies to keep production in the U.S to protect jobs.

German companies' concern is high because the U.S. is Germany's most important trading partner. They fear that a new trade policy in the U.S. could impede market access for German companies and put up hurdles to foreign investment.

In Germany, one in four jobs rely on exports and every second position in the industrial sector.

Mr. Kempf said German industry is increasingly concerned about Chinese protectionism, calling on Beijing to allow European companies to take a majority stake in Chinese companies.

"The issue is now to take down walls in China and not to pull up walls in Germany," he said.

Commenting on upcoming negotiations about the U.K.'s exit from the European Union, Mr. Kempf said there mustn't be any compromise over the European single market's principles of freedom of movementof goods, services, capital and people.

-Write to Andrea Thomas at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2017 04:50 ET (09:50 GMT)

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