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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and an Exchange With Reporters in Biarritz, France

August 26, 2019

The President's Future Travel Plans

Q. Mr. President, when will you visit Berlin?

President Trump. Well, we'll be coming to Germany, a very special place. And we look forward to coming. We haven't set that date, but we will be going to Germany. Absolutely. Thank you.

Thank you very much. And we've had a great couple of days. Very productive. And Chancellor Merkel and I have really, I think, come to some very good conclusion on lots of things, including trade. We do a tremendous amount of trade with Germany. A great trading partner. And we've reached agreement on a lot of different things. And we probably think we're going to be upping the trade over a very short period of time. We have—actually, we do a lot of trade, but we can up it quite a bit.

We also talked military. We talked defense. We talked about a lot of different things. And a lot of really wonderful things were concluded. I think it's been a great 2 days. So thank you very much. Very much, Angela. Thank you.

Chancellor Merkel. Well, I can only confirm this: We had, indeed, very productive talks while we're here, and we're going to continue such productive talks and on a bilateral level. And in view of the very close relationship that binds our two countries together, and I am confident that we can do good things together and can continue our good relation.

President Trump. No doubt. And we've also had a very good G-7. I think it's been, really, a productive G-7 and coming to a close, I guess, sometime this afternoon. We're going to be doing a press conference. I'll be doing one later. Perhaps you will. Are you doing a press conference? I hope so. If you do one, I may go. [Laughter] Just to watch.

But we'll be doing—we'll be leaving after the press conference, going back to the United States. Okay? Thank you.

German-U.S. Trade Relations

Q. Mr. President, do you still consider tariffs on German cars?

President Trump. Say it?

Q. Do you still consider tariffs on German cars?

President Trump. I hope not. I mean, we're going to come to some conclusions. We talked about a new trade deal between, you know, not just Germany, but between the Union and ourselves—European Union. And I think, you know, we're having some very good discussions going.

I hope not. I really do hope not.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Terrorist Organization

Q. Mr. President, do you have any conclusions on ISIS fighters coming back from Syria? President Trump. Well, we talked about that just a few minutes ago. We've captured thousands of ISIS fighters. We have them now. They're captured. They're in various locations, but predominantly in one.

They came from Europe, in almost all cases. And we've told Europe, "I hope you're going to be able to take them back and do something." So it's something that we've discussed with the various nations, taking them back. Because the United States, we did a great favor for, you know, the fact, we were able to capture—we were able to take a hundred percent of the caliphate. One-hundred percent.

But we have thousands of ISIS fighters that are captured, some very dangerous. Some of them are very dangerous. And we think they should go to the country from which they came. And that's what's pretty much going to happen. I think we had a pretty good meeting. And that had not reached a total conclusion, but it's unfair for the United States to take them, because they didn't come from the United States, so—[inaudible].

Iran/Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit

Q. Mr. President, do you and Mrs. Merkel agree on a step forward for Iran?

President Trump. We haven't discussed Iran too much, but I think we agree that Iran shouldn't be nuclear. It's a very important thing. In fact, I think we'll be coming out with a statement, to that effect, from the G-7. Everybody agrees that we cannot let Iran become a nuclear—have nuclear weapons.

[At this point, the reporter directed a question to Chancellor Merkel in German, and no translation was provided.]

Q. Mr. President, you've said multiple times that the EU——

Chancellor Merkel. Well, I can only repeat that we, together—that is to say all of the G-7 members—have said that we want to prevent any kind of nuclear weapons for Iran. That's something that we want to prevent. We've said we wanted to achieve that through negotiations. We had very productive talks on this issue as well. But it is, obviously, still moving as an issue. And it is slowly moving forward, but there's still a long way to go yet.

Iran/Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit/U.S. Economy

Q. Mr. President, what are your thoughts on the working session on climate?

Q. You've said multiple times that——

President Trump. I do think that we really made some big progress with respect to Iran in terms of unity of the G-7. And there has been great unity. Really. It's been flawless, in that sense. And you know, we had a lot of fake news where they're saying: "Oh, there's no unity. There's no unity." In fact, total unity. We've had a really—I'm talking about all of the seven countries. And it's been really good. It's been—now, it's not quite over yet; we have a meeting or two left, right?

But I will tell you, we've had great unity, even with Iran. A lot of progress made on Iran. And we've come to a conclusion, more or less. But the biggest part of the conclusion: They can't have nuclear weapons.

But we have had a very successful G-7. Very friendly. Very friendly. Very opposite of what you've reported. I mean, you had a report where—I was in the plane, I hadn't even landed yet, and you said I was in a dispute. And I said: "That's tough. I haven't landed yet." So, as you know, that was your predisposition. The other thing is, the country is doing very—the United States, as you know, is doing very, very well. Talks are going on with China at a very high level. As you know, Steve, you might just want to mention what was said, but it was just reported in Bloomberg and others that—Marketwatch—that China just put out a statement.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. Well, we appreciate the Vice Premier Liu—his comments that he just came out with. And we look forward to continuing our discussions with him. Ambassador Lighthizer and I will expect to continue those shortly.

Q. Mr. President, what are your thoughts on the working session on climate?

European Union/China-U.S. Trade Relations

Q. Mr. President, do you still believe that the EU treats the U.S.——

President Trump. Say it?

Q. Do you still believe that the EU treats the U.S. worse than China on trade, after your discussions?

President Trump. I think the European Union—and I've said this openly; I say it with respect—I think they're as tough as China. I really do. I think they're very tough. The United States has been not treated particularly well over the years. And I'm not saying that as a bad—it should have been the other way around, but it wasn't. I congratulate you.

But the European Union, they're tough. Very tough. They're very tough traders. And the United States has lost tremendous amounts of money over the many years with the European Union. And I don't hold that against the European Union, I hold it against our Presidents and administrations that did not do a good job.

I respect the European Union. I respect China for being able to do what they've done to the United States over the years. I mean, you look at a guy like Sleepy Joe Biden, the fact that he would allow them, for 8 years with Obama, to do what they did to us. This should have happened—what I'm doing with China should have happened 25 years ago. Not just President Obama. I mean, many Presidents. You go back with Bush and Clinton. I mean, many, many Presidents should have done something about this.

They're taking out hundreds of billions of dollars a year. You know, intellectual property theft by the billions and billions and billions. It's not right. Somebody should have done it. And I'm not blaming China, I'm blaming our representatives and leadership for doing a bad job.

Q. Mr. President, would you consider delaying the next round of tariffs?

Chancellor Merkel. If I may——

[Chancellor Merkel spoke in German.]

President Trump. This doesn't sound good. [Laughter]

[The interpreter translated Chancellor Merkel's remarks into English as follows.]

Chancellor Merkel. At any rate, we wish to talk about these issues and others right now. And we've said we want to come as quickly as possible to an agreement between the European Union and the United States—enhance talks—because this is obviously of very great interest also to us, to enhance the trade relations between the European Union and the United States. And we've said we want to bring this as quickly as possible to a successful solution.

Anyway, Germany is going to work resolutely——

President Trump. Right. Chancellor Merkel. ——for this, before the European Union.

President Trump. Great. Well, as you know, we made a very big deal yesterday with Japan. That's a tremendous deal with Prime Minister Abe. And we hope to have a deal with the European Union too. We hope we can do a fair deal, a good deal for everybody.

Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit

Q. Mr. President, were you able to attend the working session on climate and oceans earlier?

President Trump. We're having it in a little while.

Q. In a little while.

[A reporter asked a question in German, and Chancellor Merkel responded. An interpreter then translated the exchange as follows.]

Interpreter. The question was, "Madam Chancellor, is the new dream team of G-7 now Presidents Trump and President Macron?" And the Chancellor replied, "The new dream team of G-7 is G-7." [Laughter]

President Trump. That's a good answer, actually. [Laughter] You know, everybody has really contributed. We've had really great contributions from all of the different countries. I think that's true. Right? Very good contributions.

French Digital Services Tax

Q. Mr. President, there are news that you get—you got the compromise on digital taxation between France and the U.S. Can you confirm that?

President Trump. Yes. We're getting close. And they want to make a deal. And we'll see if we can make a deal. We're getting close.

Chancellor Merkel. We have said that we have the intention within the OECD to find a solution for each and every one by 2020. And that will be an enormous breakthrough to the benefit of everyone in the world.

President Trump. Correct.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Terrorist Organization

Q. And, Chancellor Merkel, is Germany making a commitment to take back ISIS fighters in Syria?

President Trump. Well, we're talking about that now. And we have a lot from Germany, which is a great thing. And we'll work something out. I think we're going to work something out.

Chancellor Merkel. First, I should say that we have already accepted a number of family members, among them primarily children.

President Trump. That's true.

Chancellor Merkel. Secondly, we have committed ourselves—all the European Union countries—to work together and to try and find a solution here to work together with the United States on this one. But it's—we want to find a solution together, but it is certainly not—[inaudible]—I should say.

Q. Mr. President——

President Trump. We've done—we've done—I think we've done a really great job. We—you know, we defeated them. We took over 100 percent. Not 99, not 98—because I was criticized. I said: "All right, we got 98 percent. We're leaving." And I was very badly criticized. They said, "Why not 100 percent?" So I said: "All right, we'll stay. We'll do 100." So we did 100 percent. And we did a great job.

And we've had very good talks. But you know, it's not fair for the United States to have these people. We want to give them to the areas where they came from, and that includes not just Germany. France. We have a lot from France. We have a lot of from U.K. We have a lot from a lot of different countries. And for the most part, all in Europe.

Q. Mr. President——

President Trump. They came from Europe.


China-U.S. Trade Negotiations/President Xi Jinping of China

Q. On China, sir, do you think it's possible that talks would advance and you could reach a deal to either delay or cancel the planned tariff increases that you've announced?

President Trump. Well, I think anything is possible. I can say we're having very meaningful talks. Much more meaningful than, I would say, at any time, frankly. And I think, for the most part, it's because we are doing very well. China is a great country. I consider President Xi to be a great leader. I think you do also. And he is a great leader.

And look, they're losing millions and millions of jobs. They're going to other countries. And if I were them, I'd want to make a deal. But, in the meantime, the United States is taking in tremendous amounts of dollar—you know, billions and billions of dollars. And frankly, there's been no inflation. And most of these products haven't even gone up, because China is able to manipulate and also able to put cash into the system where the product can stay at the same price. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a competitive product, and they wouldn't be able to sell it, and they'd lose jobs.

But they've lost a lot of jobs, and I think they want to see a sensible solution. So there's a really good chance. I think we're probably in a much better position now than at any time during the negotiation. That's something meaningful. And I don't think you could have gotten here without having to go through this process. And maybe I'm wrong, but I think we're probably in a stronger position now to do a deal, a fair deal for everybody. And so we're having very meaningful talks.

Q. Mr. President, Chinese officials still haven't confirmed this——

German-U.S. Relations

Q. Mr. President, is the Chancellor pressuring you to deescalate the trade war with China?

President Trump. No. She's—she'd like to see it worked out, because it's good for everybody, I think, if it works out. Not pressuring. She's a brilliant woman, and she understands exactly where everything is. She knows before most people. And she'd like to see it worked out.

[A reporter directed the question to Chancellor Merkel in German, and no translation was provided.]

President Trump. Okay?

Q. Mr. President——

[The interpreter then translated Chancellor Merkel's response into English as follows.] Chancellor Merkel. Well, of course, we're all—sorry. Of course, I mean, we're all somehow linked together. We all have every interest in trying to see this come to a solution. And we'd be very glad if a—well, an agreement could be found between China and the United States that is in our own vested interest.

2020 Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit

Q. Mr. President, when you are hosting G-7 next year, who will be your surprise guest? [Laughter]

President Trump. I don't think there will be any surprises. I'm not looking for surprises. I think we'll have a very successful G-7. It will probably be in Miami, right next to the International Airport. Great location. It's one of the biggest airports. It takes planes from everywhere. You know, sometimes, you have hours and hours of driving to get to certain locations. We'll have—you'll only have a 5-minute drive, which is good. You'll land in Miami International Airport.

And so we think we're going to have a very successful one. And we can learn from what took place here, because I think they did a really great job. Even architecturally, the way the rooms were set up and designed. And I think they really did. We got some good ideas from this G-7. But there won't be any surprises, no.

Q. So it will be at your Doral resort?

Russia/2020 Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit

Q. Are you going to invite Russia?

President Trump. Well, we'll see.

Q. It will be——

President Trump. I think that Russia—we had a talk and no vote or anything. But we had a talk about Russia. My inclination is to say yes. Some people disagree with me; some people don't. There are people that agree with me 100 percent, but there are some that don't.

So we did have a discussion about Russia. We'll see. I think it's advantageous, but other people don't necessarily agree—maybe at this time, I think I could say. Maybe at this time, without being specific. But we'll see what happens.

Q. Chancellor, can you say something on Russia? Chancellor——

2020 Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit/Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort in Miami, Florida

Q. Mr. President, do you expect to host at the Doral golf course, the G-7?

President Trump. They're seeming to set up the best. It's close to the—we haven't made a final decision, but it's right next to the airport, right there, meaning, you know, a few minutes away.

It's a great place. It's got tremendous acreage. Many hundreds of acres. So we can handle whatever happens. It's really—people are really liking it. Plus, it has buildings that have 50 to 70 units in them, so each delegation can have its own building. So you'd have the seven various delegations; they could have their own building. So a lot of—and they could have buildings for the press. We have—it's very big. A great conference facility.

So we're thinking about it. They love the location of the hotel, and they also like the fact that it's right next to the airport, for convenience. And it's Miami. Doral. Miami. So it's a great area. Q. It's the best bet, you think? Is that the leading place?

Q. Chancellor, can you say something on Russia?

President Trump. We haven't found anything that could even come close to competing it—really competing with it, especially when you look at the location being right next to the airport. Because so many places are so far away. The drive is so long, and you know, you'd need helicopters, you need all sorts of things. This is something you can be there in literally a matter of minutes after you land. So I think they will appreciate that.

Q. Chancellor, can you give us your views on Russia?

[Chancellor Merkel responded in German.]

Q. Madam Chancellor, did you invite——

Q. Translation. [Laughter]

[The interpreter translated Chancellor Merkel's remarks into English as follows.]

Chancellor Merkel. We will certainly address this issue in our talks here. I want to see a—talks now between—and a solution—between the Ukrainian President Zelensky, the new Ukrainian President, and the Russian President. We wish to see progress made on the Minsk agreement. We've already made, as we saw, small progress with President Zelensky. And I think we have to try and bring this forward in the next few months to come.

I, at any rate, have every interest in bringing about a solution to this. We have—it is a big problem, and we have enough problems in the world as it is, so I think we ought to make progress on this one.

Leaders of Group of Seven (G-7) Nations

Q. Mr. President, the G-7 is about to lose its only female leader. Are you concerned that the world isn't doing enough to promote female leaders around the world?

Chancellor Merkel. I'm still here. [Laughter]

Q. About to.

President Trump. She may surprise you. She may be here a long time. I know her well. I don't know that you're right about that. I don't know that you're right about that at all.

Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit

Q. Mr. President, speaking on female leaders, are you signing on to any of the gender equality initiatives and also the African partnership initiatives?

President Trump. Well, we're looking at it very carefully. We had some very good meetings on that, yes. Very, very good meetings. Really productive. It was something that we are looking at very seriously, as a country, as an endorsement—as a country. Yes. So we're looking at that very seriously.

Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit

Q. Mr. President, have you discussed monetary policy with any of these leaders? Sort of——

President Trump. Not too much. Not too much.

Q. Germany, of course, has pretty cheap money right now. President Trump. It may come up at the very end, in our last meeting. I think we're going to be discussing that a little bit. But we haven't had that meeting yet. It may—it's a big thing, monetary policy. Very big.

Secretary Mnuchin. And fiscal policy.

President Trump. And fiscal.

The President's Future Travel Plans

Q. Madam Chancellor, did you invite the President to Berlin? And what was his answer?

Chancellor Merkel. As I've already told you, I've invited the President repeatedly on previous occasions, and you have heard his answer just now.

President Trump. We'll be there. We'll be there. It's—I'm very honored by the invitation, and that's true. And we will be there. And maybe soon. It's—I have German in my blood. [Laughter] I'll be there.

The President's Future Travel Plans

Q. Will you make a stop on the way to Poland, for example?

President Trump. Well, I haven't thought of that, but it could happen. [Laughter] We have—it's a little soon. It's a little soon. But we'll be in Poland, I guess, next week. And then, we'll be heading back. It's a little bit too soon. But we're going to be there very soon, in Germany.

Okay? Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:21 a.m. at Centre de Congrès Bellevue Convention and Exhibition Center. In his remarks, he referred to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Chancellor Merkel referred to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia. Secretary Mnuchin referred to Vice Premier Liu He of China. Chancellor Merkel and some reporters spoke in German, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and an Exchange With Reporters in Biarritz, France Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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