With President Donald Trump due to arrive in Germany later on Thursday, a lawmaker in the country has voiced concerns over a potential trade war between the U.S. and Europe as a result of Trump's protectionist policies.
The two countries have been on uneasy ground concerning trade since Trump took office, with the U.S. president criticizing Berlin for its trade surplus. Speaking just hours before Germany receives Trump and the other G-20 leaders in Hamburg, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told German radio that he fears the start of a trade war.
"There are things that cause great concern that the United States start a trade war with Europe," he told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, according to Reuters, without giving further details.
His words add to comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said last week that the upcoming G-20 talks were going to be difficult. Merkel and Trump met in the U.S. in March – a moment described as "awkward" by the media after the U.S. president refused to shake hands with the chancellor.
In May, Trump said on Twitter that Germany is "very bad" for the U.S. while his administration has previously claimed that Germany's trade surplus is a result of the country's manipulation of the euro. German officials, including the country's Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, have rejected such charges adding that the quality of German products make them attractive to U.S. consumers and have stated that Berlin doesn't have any power to manipulate the common currency.