President Donald Trump went after Germany in an early morning tweet on Tuesday, adding to apparently strained relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military,” said Trump. “Very bad for U.S. This will change.”
The tweet comes following remarks by Chancellor Merkel on Monday that appeared to stress the need to pivot away from the US and UK.
“The times in which [Germany] could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days,” Merkel said
during the event. “We Europeans really have to take our destiny into our own hands.”
Merkel reiterated the sentiment on Tuesday, saying that relations with the US are of “outstanding importance,” but Germany must also look elsewhere.
The tweet by Trump reflects common criticisms by the president of trade deficits. Trump has used trade deficits with China, Mexico, Canada, and now Germany as a reflection of “bad trade deals” that the US is engaged in. According to the US Census Bureau, the US had a $US64.9 billion goods trade deficit with Germany in 2016.
Additionally, Trump has frequently criticised members of NATO, including Germany, for not hitting a threshold of 2% GDP spending towards the alliance.
While Trump painted this as a debt “owed” to NATO in a speech with allies on Thursday, foreign policy experts have pointed out that the agreement says the 2% of GDP is supposed to be paid by each country to its own military and is a target to be reached by 2024.
Here’s the tweet:
We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017