Ivanka Trump is joining Chancellor Angela Merkel and others in Berlin on Tuesday for talks on encouraging women’s economic empowerment on her first international outing as a White House adviser. The one-day visit, at the invitation of the chancellor, gives Merkel and other officials face-to-face access with the influential daughter of President Donald Trump at a time when world leaders are still trying to discern where his policies will lead.
Trump and Merkel are part of a panel discussion Tuesday at the W20 Summit, a women-focused effort within the Group of 20 countries, entitled ”Inspiring women: Scaling up women’s entrepreneurship.” Other participants include IMF director Christine Lagarde, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Netherlands’ Queen Maxima.
President Trump’s ”America first” stance, including his questioning of multilateral trade deals, has left many wondering how the U.S. will proceed internationally. He has been critical of Germany’s large trade surplus with the United States, and moved Monday to impose a 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber entering the U.S. from Canada, intensifying a trade dispute between the neighbors.
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Ivanka Trump, an unpaid White House adviser, has been a vocal advocate for policies benefiting working women and vocational training. She organized a discussion with Merkel, her father, and American and German executives about how companies can better train workers during the chancellor’s March visit to Washington.
Ahead of the trip, Ivanka Trump co-authored an op-ed piece in the Financial Times, calling for more global efforts to invest in women’s economic empowerment. ”The evidence is overwhelming that supporting women’s economic participation has enormous dividends for families, communities and whole economies,” Trump wrote with Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank.
Merkel spokesman Georg Streiter said the chancellor had ”great interest” in participating in the Tuesday panel, but that there was no one-on-one meeting planned with Ivanka Trump – though he did not rule it out. ”This is also a larger meeting – there is not only Ms. Trump, but also others,” Streiter said. ”It is a meeting in the run-up to the G20 summit in Hamburg and part of the social dialogue; that is why the chancellor attaches such great importance to this.”
While in Berlin, Ivanka Trump will also visit a technology college run by the Siemens company and go to the German capital’s memorial to the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. She converted to Judaism herself ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. Trump stepped away from running her fashion brand to take on a role as an unpaid White House adviser in her father’s administration. She has spent time talking about women’s empowerment, often at White House forums and roundtables.
She has not yet offered specific legislation or publicly revealed how she plans to move forward with the child care and family leave policies she promoted during her father’s campaign. But a senior administration official says she and others have been working quietly behind the scenes to revise her campaign proposals and to build momentum.
The official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal policy talks, stressed that child care is a part of the White House tax policy conversation. The president is set to roll out tax reform priorities Wednesday, but the official declined to discuss those plans in advance.