Trump ruffles feathers by calling Germans "bad" _ on trade

German Chancellor Merkel has not commented on the Der Speigel's account of President Trump's conversation with top European Union officials.

As part of his continuing programme of How to lose friends and alienate people, German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Trump at the G7 meeting as saying: "The Germans are bad, very bad".

Now German journalists at Der Spiegel are reporting that this tension boiled over into angry remonstrations from Donald Trump against German auto manufacturers during a meeting with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Council President Donald Tusk.

Merkel's government says it is taking action to boost domestic demand and imports by encouraging investment in Germany and raising wages and pensions.

"We are going to continue to fight for what we believe is right, which is free, open and fair trade, which the president has been very clear on what that means", Cohn said.

Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday ahead of the G-7 summit in the Sicilian coastal city of Taormina, Italy.

Germany has pushed back, describing the surplus as a outcome of its competitive products, particularly cars, and the independent European Central Bank's loose monetary policy, which has pushed down the value of the euro, making German goods more attractive overseas.

Tusk said the primary goal of the talks was keeping the Group of Seven economies united, admitting that it was "the most challenging G7 in years" because of the stark differences of opinion between Trump and the rest.

Trump has said he wants trade to be balanced and fair as well as free so that it benefits US workers and companies.

"Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US".

Abe became the latest world leader to publicly flatter Trump, saluting his visit to the Middle East and address to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on Thursday.

This is not the first time that Trump has chastised Berlin. "I have a problem with German trade'".

In 2016, Germany had a US$64 billion trade surplus with the US. Last year, it exported around 70 percent of its South Carolina-made cars, something that would help lower the U.S.' trade deficit.

Germany has pointed out that the European Central Bank manages monetary policy independently for all countries that use the euro.

Volkswagen has a large plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Mercedes-Benz has plants in Alabama and SC.

Cohn also said Trump and the USA delegation are "not sure what's going to happen", at a G-7 gathering focused on climate change and trade but that the president was very open to hearing the views of the other leaders. "On the eleventh refusal, Trump finally got the message, 'Oh, we'll do a deal with Europe then.'" The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

She also noted that Germany should not be singled out.