Trump says Germany is 'very bad' on trade

Mr Trump declined to comment when asked by U.S. reporters to confirm his remarks about Germany. Trump said, according to Der Spiegel.

"He did not say the Germans were behaving badly", Juncker said, adding that the reports in the German media were exaggerated.

In 2016, 1.33 million German cars were sold in the US.

"Ten times Trump asked [Merkel] if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany".

"I don't want to comment but I have to", said the head of the European Union executive, who is in overall charge of the giant economic bloc's trading relationship with the rest of the world.

Trump's reference to Germany's large trade surplus with the United States draws attention to a contentious issue at the summit.

The chairman of the European Union's council says he agrees with President Donald Trump that the global community should be "tough, even brutal" on terrorism and Islamic State.

The Trump administration also is frustrated by other G7 countries' economic growth rates, a topic the president and team intend to bring up during the two-day summit.

Gary Cohn, Trumps top economic adviser said on Thursday during a meeting between the President and European Union officials in Brussels Trump said Germany was "very bad on trade".

In March, he signed executive orders to review the causes of the United States trade deficits with some of its largest trading partners - including China and Germany - and push for stricter enforcement of USA anti-dumping laws.

While this serves to clarify the president's remarks in the meeting, it somewhat contradicts what White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted this morning.

Trump initially met with Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, Der Spiegel reported, before others including the European Parliament's president and the EU's chief diplomat joined later. "He said his dad is from Germany".

A German government spokesman says trade surpluses like the one that's provoking Trump's ire are the result of market factors and are "neither good nor bad".

The BMW manufacturing plant in SC is the nation's leading exporter of vehicles, sending $9.53 billion worth of cars and SUVs to foreign countries in 2016 - a lot of them through the Port of Charleston. Fred Trump was born in New York City but Trump's grandfather came to New York from Germany.

Trump has taken aim at German carmakers before.

In January, Trump threatened to slap a 35 percent tax on German auto imports.

Merkel is attending the G7 summit in Sicily but a bilateral meeting with Trump is not scheduled.

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