Merkel to meet with Trump: It's not just business, it's personal

Donald Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out trading provocations with Turkey on March 16 after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sharply criticized bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany and the Netherlands.

For Mrs Merkel - who shared such a close relationship with former USA president Barack Obama that his last official phone call to a foreign leader was to her - talks with Mr Trump will involve walking a fine diplomatic line.

Trump has tussled with Detroit's "Big Three" and other automakers, including BMW, over cars that are shipped into the U.S. As president-elect, Trump was quoted by German newspaper Bild saying BMW in particular could be subject to a 35% tariff if they continue to import cars from Mexico, where most major vehicle companies run factories that build small cars.

According to the Germans, the two leaders "reaffirmed that they will work together for free trade and open markets". Their press conference is scheduled to begin at 1:20 p.m. ET.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday morning held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the topic of strengthening bilateral relations. German media report that she has been studying Trump's speeches and interviews to prepare for the visit.

Altmaier told the Funke newspaper group that Germany, like every other country, has the right to prevent members of foreign governments from entering.

It is fair to say that neither Mr. Trump nor Mrs. Merkel see eye to eye on a list of critical issues, including immigration, trade, Europe, Russia, and the importance of European unity under the flag of the European Union project.

Instead Merkel will shake hands with the upstart billionaire who is known to rate women based on their curves and has accused Merkel of "ruining Germany".

Merkel will appeal to the President's focus on business, bringing with her to Washington the chief executives of Siemens and BMW with her to Washington.

Trump is likely to publicly stress the need for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to take more seriously a requirement to spend 2% of GDP on defense.

"My expectation is that they'll have a very positive, cordial meeting", said one senior administration official last week.

The unstoppable force of President Trump's rage against perceived bad trade deals may be set to encounter an immovable object: A united front by Germany and China. "Protectionist measures like punitive customs, import taxes or the termination of worldwide trade treaties would therefore only help the US economy temporarily,". The central question for both the USA and German governments is how they can best deal with exploitation. Trump is traveling to MI and Tennessee and returning to Washington later this evening.

"Germany is one of the most difficult trade deficits that we're going to have to deal with [and] we're thinking long and hard about that", he said last week.