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Germany and China are chief among the countries whose economic policies have drawn U.S. President Donald Trump's ire. While the United States has the largest current-account deficit in the world, Germany and China are running the largest surpluses, and that irritates Trump and his advisers to no end.Trump's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, insists that China is suppressing the value of its currency, the renminbi. Trump himself has flip-flopped on these issues, contradicting Navarro on occasion, even as he remains openly suspicious of U.S. trade partners' policies generally.Since Trump was elected last year, Germany and China have also been chief among the countries expected to supplant U.S. global leadership. But Germany and China are profoundly different, and there is no consensus on whether either country can or will fill America's shoes.In a case of curious timing, both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping are approaching domestic political events that are widely expected to solidify their leadership positions in the coming years. In Germany, Merkel is favored to win a fourth term as chancellor in the upcoming federal election on Sept. 24 . Now, almost 20 years later, The Economist magazine has deemed Merkel the "indispensable European".
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