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Leonid Bershidsky

On Trade, Merkel Joins Trump on the Low Road

Like the U.S. president, the German chancellor is cherry-picking numbers to buttress a narrative of victimization.

The beer is home-brewed.

The beer is home-brewed.

Photographer: Joerg Koch/Getty Images

After failing to persuade President Donald Trump that punitive tariffs on European imports aren’t a good idea, Chancellor Angela Merkel has apparently decided to fight back by taking a page from his playbook and manipulating facts.

“Trade surpluses are still calculated in a relatively old-fashioned way, based only on goods,” Merkel told a business conference organized by her party on Tuesday. “But if you include services in the trade balance, the U.S. has a big surplus with Europe.”