Merkel Defends Germany Trade Surplus

Merkel Defends Germany Trade Surplus

BERLIN (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is defending the country's trade surplus, saying the government is working to encourage domestic demand but that not all factors are in its control.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been critical of Germany's surplus, and Merkel's comments in her weekly podcast Saturday come as Economy Minister Peter Altmaier gets ready to head off Sunday to Washington for talks with a possible trade war looming between Europe and the U.S.

Merkel said domestic demand has been growing, helping narrow the German trade surplus to 244.9 billion euros in 2017 ($301.1 billion) from a record 248.9 billion euros the previous year.

But she noted fluctuations in oil prices and exchange rates were outside Germany's control, and the trade surpluses also "show that our products are in demand."

(KA)