World Economy

Merkel flies in for Trump meeting flanked by German CEOs

Angela Merkel
Thierry Charlier | AFP | Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday with her delegation bolstered by some high profile German business figures.

Merkel is arriving in the U.S. Monday flanked by the CEOs of automaker BMW and industrial firm Siemens as well as representatives of other German companies with American operations.

Both men will want to stress the number of U.S. jobs created by their firms but face the recent backdrop of a U.S. administration that has been less than complimentary about German trade.

Trump's top trade representative has openly complained about Germany's use of the euro to undercut U.S. brands. In January, Trump himself suggested to Germany's largest newspaper that a tariff on BMW imports could be in order.

"I would tell BMW if they want to build a factory in Mexico and sell the cars in the U.S. without paying a 35 percent tax, then they can forget about it," Trump told Bild.

Subsequently, BMW Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger defended the importance of free trade and highlighted that BMW employs 70,000 people in the United States.

"Free trade has only made this success story in the U.S. possible -- 70 percent of the automobiles produced here are exported," Krueger said at a conference in February.

Krueger will accompany Merkel on her U.S. trip alongside another heavyweight ally, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive officer of Siemens AG, during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, May 7, 2014.
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Following Trump's election victory, Kaeser initially called on others to give Trump a chance, but quickly switched to harsh criticism after the first travel ban was introduced by executive order.

"What we are seeing worries us," Kaeser said in February.

"America became great through immigrants...I hope that this great country will recall what has made it great."

Siemens is also a big U.S. employer, with 50,000 workers in the U.S.

In an interview January, Donald Trump said Ms. Merkel had made a "catastrophic" mistake in letting tens of thousands of refugees enter Germany.