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Chancellor Merkel goes to Washington

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This combination of two pictures shows (at L) German Angela Merkel in Paris on February 6, 2012, and (at R) US President Barack Obama in Washington, DC, on October 8, 2013. Merkel will be in Washington today to discuss sanctions on Russia.

German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with President Obama on Friday to discuss possible economic sanctions against Russia. But Germany's business relationship with Russia complicates the situation.

"So far, Germany seems to have supported the latest EU sanctions, which are targeting far more political officials. But not, like the U.S. sanctions, targeting specific businesses," says Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University.

Germany depends on Russia for about a third of its energy needs. And Germany is also Russia's biggest trading partner in Europe.

"There are more than 6,000 German companies that are actually operating, producing in Russia," says Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "The German business community is very strongly opposed to sanctions against Russia."

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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