Right-wing populists like US presidential hopeful Donald Trump are a threat to economic development, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said in comments to the Sunday edition of Die Welt newspaper.

"Whether Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders, all these right-wing populists are not just a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development," he said.

Le Pen leads France's National Front party, while Wilders heads the Dutch Freedom Party. Gabriel did not comment on the German equivalent, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

"The right-wing populists promise their supporters a way back into a fantasy world where economic life only plays out within the borders of one's own nation," said Gabriel, who also holds the economic affairs and energy portfolio.

No national economy has ever developed further by electing to seal itself off from the rest of the world, the told Die Welt.

"We have to make the effort to explain how we want to shape globalization fairly," Gabriel said. "Precisely an export nation like Germany profits from world trade like hardly any other."

Michael Huether, director of the influential Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW Koeln), seconded the vice-chancellor in the article: "Every political force that wants to erect borders, declares protectionism as part of its programme or wants to restrict free trade calls into question the basis of our prosperity."

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