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Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. (JIM_BOURG/REUTERS)
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. (JIM_BOURG/REUTERS)

Trump news: What you need to know on March 17 Add to ...

Trump and Merkel meet, Germany could file suit against Trump at WTO over border tax

Germany could file a suit against President Donald Trump and the United States at the World Trade Organization over Mr. Trump’s proposed border tax. Mr. Trump warned that the United States will impose a border tax of 35 per cent on cars that German car maker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico then export to the U.S. market. WTO agreements state taking more than 2.5 per cent taxes on imported cars is not allowed. The meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr. Trump later on Friday at the White House was all smiles. It was their first personal encounter since the presidential election campaign, when Mr. Trump frequently criticized Ms. Merkel. The agenda of their meeting included talks around strengthening NATO, fighting Islamic State and resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

Opinion: John Ibbitson: Conservatives have a values choice to make, Harper versus Trump (The Globe and Mail)

Tillerson suggests pre-emptive force against North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it may be necessary to take pre-emptive military action against North Korea if the threat from their weapons program reaches a level “that we believe requires action.” Mr. Tillerson outlined a tougher strategy to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat, and declined talks with Pyongyang unless it denuclearizes and gives up its weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Tillerson said in a news conference in the South Korean capital that “all of the options are on the table.” He said the U.S. does not want military conflict, but if North Korea threatens South Korea or the U.S., it would be met with an appropriate response. Also Friday, Mr. Trump tweeted: “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!” For more on the conflict in Northeast Asia, see this piece by Beijing correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe here.

Britain says White House spying claims are ‘ridiculous’

British Prime Minister Theresa May received assurances from the White House that it would not repeat allegations that Britain’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ helped former president Barack Obama wiretap Mr. Trump after his victory in last year’s election. Ms. May called the claims “ridiculous” and said they should be ignored. Representatives from the White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but have said Mr. Trump’s allegations weren’t as literal as they seemed.

Trump, Price court votes for health-care overhaul

Mr. Trump stepped up his fight for support on Republicans’ plan to dismantle the current Affordable Care Act, saying he is “100 per cent behind this” after a meeting with 13 conservative lawmakers at the White House. Meanwhile, U.S. Health Secretary Tom Price also did his part to win over reluctant Republican lawmakers in a meeting at the Capitol. Republicans remain deeply divided over the U.S. health care overhaul, which will be Mr. Trump’s first major legislative initiative and one that aims to make good on his campaign pledge to repeal and replace the health care plan put in place by Mr. Obama.

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