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Obama Arrives In Germany To Boost Trade

Protesters wearing masks depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement ahead of Obama's visit to Hannover on April 23.

U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Germany to push for a new EU-U.S. trade pact and take part in a summit with key European leaders on issues including security.

Obama flew in to Hannover, where he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and together open the city's industrial trade fair on April 25. The United States is participating in the annual trade fair as a partner nation for the first time.

Later on April 25, Obama and the German chancellor will hold a summit conference that will include the leaders of France, Italy, and Britain.

Obama's meeting with Merkel as well as French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and British Prime Minister David Cameron will focus on efforts to agree on details of a new U.S.-EU trade pact.

Negotiators in Washington and Europe are trying to finalize key parts of the new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal before the end of the year.

Proponents of the deal say it would boost trade by lowering import tariffs and harmonizing regulations between the two sides.

But European labor unions, nationalists, and green groups have lobbied hard against the deal, claiming that it will drive down wages and weaken environmental standards.

The White House says Obama's summit with the four European leaders will also address counterterrorism efforts following attacks in Paris and Brussels, the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria, the European refugee crisis, and Libya.

Obama arrived in Hannover from London on April 24, where he urged the West to continue applying pressure on IS.

Speaking on April 24, Obama said he believes the territory the IS holds can be slowly shrunk and it can be driven from its stronghold cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

The United States leads an international coalition that is bombing IS in Iraq and Syria.

Obama also said it would be a mistake for the United States, Britain, or any other Western states to use ground troops to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He said that instead Western countries can apply international pressure upon other parties, including Iran and Russia, to help broker political transition in Syria.

Obama's visit to Germany is the last stop on a six-day foreign journey where Obama has sought to shore up U.S. alliances he views as key to defeat IS militants, offset Russian aggression in Ukraine, and boost international trade.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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