Germany and USA: Face to face

On Tuesday, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, will travel to Washington for her first visit with the US president, Donald Trump, in what is being described as a meeting of intractable symbolism.

Whereas Trump is seen as the ultimate disruptor, Merkel is being touted as the last remaining bastion of liberalism in the world order.

And yet, given their divergent approaches and views on some of the more pressing issues of our time, it is expected that both leaders, when they meet at the White House, will look to find common ground on which to further their strategic relationship.

On the economy
Trump has repeatedly suggested that he would be pushing for high import duties on luxury German vehicles, a move that has drawn concerns that Germany may retaliate with its own tariffs for American companies. 

Officially, Germany cannot negotiate economic deals without the European Union and it is expected that free trade will be high on Merkel’s agenda, in the face of rising protectionist rhetoric from Trump.

On the military
Trump has called NATO "obsolete" and has complained about member states not contributing enough to the alliance.

Trump has also criticised countries, including Germany, which spend less than the NATO guideline of two percent of their GDP on their military. The US spent 3.3 percent of its GDP on the military in 2015.

Merkel has acknowledged that Germany needs to spend more on its military, but has indicated it would take time to do so.

On refugees
In March 2017, Trump placed a temporary ban on refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries.

The US president has previously described Merkel's open door policy on refugees as "ruining Germany" and a "catastrophic" mistake.

In 2016, Germany took in more asylum seekers than the other 27 EU nations combined.

Source: Aljazeera