Germany's Merkel meets Trump amid tense ties

Olivier Matthys Associated Press	 German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in Brussels

The $65 billion USA trade deficit with Germany was "one of the most difficult" trade issues facing Mr Trump, he said, and bilateral discussions were needed to reduce it outside European Union restrictions. Aides say Merkel has read so much about the president that she can "quote interviews Trump has given from memory", according to The Daily Telegraph.

The United States will release its Labour Market Conditions Index for February tonight, after having announced steady jobs growth last Friday.

Merkel said that despite the current changes in the USA, the "trans-Atlantic partnership based upon our values and interests" is of overriding importance for Europeans - and that "this is the spirit" in which she would lead her talks with Trump in Washington.

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As for Merkel, she has so far carefully avoided any overt confrontation with the USA president, promising to judge Trump on his actions rather than his words. In preparation for tomorrow's meeting, she met with Vice President Mike Pence in Munich last month, and has been grilling fellow world leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for their tips on dealing with Trump in person. He once said what she did in Germany with refugees was "insane". Merkel had a warm relationship with Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, but also developed a strong working relationship with George W Bush, despite major disagreements on the Iraq war and other issues. Trump's hasn't been shy about sharing his opinion of Merkel, who support for accepting Syrian refugees he called "insane", and suggested in a tweet she was "ruining Germany." . "I will of course point out that for us, our country and our membership in the European Union are two sides of the same coin", Merkel said in Brussels ahead of the visit.

Trump had signaled he would consider a more open relationship with Russian Federation, but has yet to take action amid questions about his campaign's contact with Moscow.

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