When German economics ministers travel to friendly industrialized countries, the routine is usually relatively mundane: try to deepen cooperation, make contacts and increase access for German companies.
But when German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries starts her seven-day trip to the United States this Sunday, her mission will be far different as she attempts to persuade the Trump administration of the fundamental merits of free trade.
The trip takes place at a crucial time for Germany in terms of its trade relations with the United States. Germany’s economy is dependent on exports, and last year, the United States became the top destination for German exports for the first time in over half a century. Yet, just as the US has become the most important market for German exports, President Donald Trump has called America’s traditional free trade credo into question and repeatedly threatened to take on a more protectionist stance.