"We are talking about [the use of] trade protection instruments that comply with the WTO," Treier said during public hearings of the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy devoted to the project.
The politician also said that the concern of German businesses was growing in connection with extraterritorial sanctions that Washington had imposed in recent years against a number of countries, in particular Iran, Cuba and some Latin American states.
At the same time, the business community would not recommend responding with countersanctions, as the EU has "fierce tools" that can be "tested" in the face of possible tougher sanctions, Treier said.
In early June, US senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would tighten sanctions on Nord Stream 2 to potentially hit numerous European companies providing insurance, port and licensing services, banks and governmental organizations that work for the project. According to media reports, Germany is putting together a set of countermeasures to mobilize a coordinated EU-wide response.
On December 20, US President Donald Trump signed the 2020 defence budget, which included sanctions against the project, forcing Allseas, a Swiss company responsible for laying down the pipes, to withdraw from the project with just 100 miles left to lay. Russia is now finishing the pipeline on its own.