Trump to host Merkel for bilateral summit amidst trans-Atlantic trade tensions

Trump to host Merkel for bilateral summit amidst trans-Atlantic trade tensions

The testy relationship between Angela Merkel and Donald Trump will dominate headlines when the German leader visits the White House

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Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The testy relationship between Angela Merkel and Donald Trump will dominate headlines when the German leader visits the White House today.

Merkel is the second European leader to visit Mr Trump this week. France’s Emmanuel Macron wrapped up a friendly state visit on Tuesday with a call for a “new” Iran nuclear deal—a key issue for Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for its renegotiation.

Indeed, the Iran deal is likely to take centre stage again today. The European powers are committed to salvaging the agreement, which has resulted in an influx of European investment to Iran since sanctions were lifted in January 2016. Billions of euros have flowed into the Middle East’s second largest economy from companies such as Airbus, Total, Siemens and Peugeot.

Mr Trump must decide on whether to ditch the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran by May 12. If he does, the billions in investments made by European firms will be at risk, raising trade tensions with the EU. Whether the reimposition of sanctions—particularly without the support of Russia and China—will have any real effect on Iran’s economy remains to be seen.