Trump Talks Trade and Climate With Merkel Ahead of G-20 Summit

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. -- President Donald Trump had an "extensive" conversation about trade and climate issues with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, the White House said Monday.

The U.S. and German leaders have had rocky relations since Mr. Trump's arrival in office, including public disagreements between Washington and Berlin over the U.S. move to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and Germany's trade surplus with the U.S.

On Monday, the U.S. administration said the conversation had included an area where the two countries had more mutual interests -- global steel overcapacity -- according to details of the call provided by the White House.

Germany has raised the issue before, citing overcapacity in China as a particular concern, and said it wanted the Group of 20 industrialized and developing nations to work together on it.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, missed a self-imposed Friday deadline for concluding a major probe of steel imports, in a report expected to be used as ammunition for potential tariffs or other barriers on imported steel.

"The president said that he looks forward to helping Chancellor Merkel make the Summit a success," the White House said of Monday's call. The summit starts later this week.

The White House also said climate issues were discussed on the call, but provided no details.

Mr. Trump had called Ms. Merkel, as well as Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, from his Bedminster golf club where he and his family spent a long weekend ahead of the July Fourth holiday.

With Mr. Gentiloni, the president spoke about the upcoming agenda summit, and "also underscored his appreciation for Italy's efforts to address the significant Libyan migration crisis," the White House said.

Hundreds of thousands of African immigrants have attempted to reach Europe by taking a dangerous sea journey from Libya, often arriving in Italy. Italy has revised its immigration policies in response, including bowing to pressure from other European countries and bottling up the arrivals inside the country rather than waving them through, as well as stepping up deportations.

Earlier in the weekend, Mr. Trump had called Chinese President Xi Jinping, and "reiterated his determination to seek more balanced trade relations with America's trading partners," the White House said.

He also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, about North Korea in particular, and Gulf state leaders about the regional dispute over Qatar.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 03, 2017 22:35 ET (02:35 GMT)