Merkel, Trump Plan Talks to Ease Tensions, Germany's Beyer Says

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump will seek ways to move past recent tensions when they meet in Washington later this month, according to a German government official.

U.S.-German relations are “obviously very demanding” amid growing differences over security, trade and defense, Peter Beyer, the German government’s new coordinator for transatlantic relations, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Berlin. Merkel will seek to navigate the issues during a working meeting with Trump scheduled for April 27, he added. The Chancellery hasn’t officially confirmed the visit.

“Transatlantic relations remain one of the cornerstones, one of the main pillars of our relationships,” Beyer said on Monday. When Merkel and Trump meet, “they have a lot to talk about.”

Amid U.S. concerns about Germany’s trade surplus and the country’s defense spending less than called for under the Nato alliance, the two leaders may find common ground in countering China, according to Beyer. By forming a united front in the Group of Seven, the two countries can jointly tackle alleged theft of intellectual property by China, he said.

“Within the G-7 regime, we should try to define criteria” on IP concerns, Beyer said. A summit for the G-7, which also includes the U.K., France, Italy, Canada and Japan, will be held on June 8-9 in Canada’s Charlevoix region.

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