"Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States", Trump said. "We talked about the global situation, we discussed the shared interests that we have", said Merkel on her remarks.
Donald Trump's and Angela Merkel's rhetoric on global trade showed no sign that the two leaders are anywhere close to finding common ground.
When asked about his accusation that former President Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 election, Trump tried to lighten the atmosphere at the joint news conference with Merkel. Members are required to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, but only five nations now meet this requirement.
As a candidate, Mr Trump frequently accused the chancellor of ruining Germany for allowing an influx of refugees and other migrants from Syria and accused his campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, of wanting to be "America's Angela Merkel".
Trump may have been attempting to somehow make light of either his own claims, or Merkel's history as a target of the NSA.
During his campaign and after taking office, Trump said he would impose a 45 percent tax on imports from China, and that same on imports from Mexico. Mr. Trump, who was not looking at her at the moment, may also not have heard her, but the moment appeared to be a little uncomfortable.
"We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on TV", Trump said.
McDonald's deletes anti-Trump tweet, claiming Twitter account had been hacked
Trump's may not have been amused, some experts said the tweet could actually help boost McDonald's standing. It also poked fun at the size of Trump's hands.
Talks had been scheduled for Tuesday, before a blizzard in the eastern United States forced a postponement. "We need to be fair to each other".
Trump pushed back. "I don't believe in isolationist policy, but I do believe a policy of trade should be a fair policy", he said.
Trump reiterated his position throughout the campaign that trade agreements have to benefit USA workers in order to gain his support.
Trump repeated his criticism of countries in the alliance that don't meet the goal during the press conference.
These mistakes on Trump's end are hardly new.
Last year, the US shipped almost $50 billion worth of goods to Germany and bought more than $114 billion in return, creating a trade deficit of almost $65 billion. 'That would be another example of fake news'.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with his German counterpart in Berlin on March 16 to discuss some of those issues, in what he said were "extremely productive" talks.
During the press conference the two leaders sought to highlight areas of agreement, though they looked far from pleased with one another.