Merkel and Trump to discuss trade and defence in US talks

Donald Trump and Angela MerkelImage copyright

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Donald Trump and Angela Merkel have widely differing leadership styles

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet President Donald Trump in Washington, with transatlantic trade and Nato ties high on the agenda.

Mr Trump has ruffled feathers in Germany by threatening its carmakers with tariffs and calling on Berlin to boost defence spending.

Mrs Merkel will be accompanied by top executives from German companies Siemens, Schaeffler and car giant BMW.

Her visit was scheduled for Tuesday but had to be postponed due to a snowstorm.

Ahead of Friday’s talks, Mrs Merkel told a German newspaper she was looking forward to her first meeting with President Trump.

“It’s always better to talk with each other than about each other,” she told Saarbruecker Zeitung.

Media captionTrump meets Merkel: The biggest difference between US and Germany

During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump threatened higher import taxes for countries such as Germany that have a trade surplus over America.

But Mrs Merkel said there was a lot of direct German investment in the US.

She said BMW’s plant in the US exported “more cars than GM and Ford together” from the United States, adding: “I’ll make that clear.”

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Mrs Merkel’s visit was postponed because of a snowstorm that hit the north-eastern US

The meeting has been highly anticipated as the two leaders have publicly differed on key issues.

In January, Mr Trump said the German chancellor had made “a catastrophic mistake” by allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants into Germany.

Mrs Merkel responded by saying the EU had to take responsibility for itself. “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands,” she said.

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For her part, Mrs Merkel has criticised President Trump’s controversial travel ban that targets the citizens of several mainly Muslim countries.

In January, she explained during a phone call to him that the Geneva Convention obliges signatories, including the US, to take in refugees of war on humanitarian grounds.

The two leaders are due to hold more than two hours of talks followed by a working lunch.

The agenda is also expected to cover foreign policy issues involving Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East peace process.

Merkel and Trump to discuss trade and defence in US talks