Prime minister Mark Rutte is in Washington on Thursday for several hours of meetings with US president Donald Trump. This is the second time the two men have met at the White House and comes at a time when the US has asked the Netherlands to contribute to two military missions abroad, one in northern Syria and one in the Straits of Hormuz.
Neither subject is on the official agenda, which is expected to focus on trade talks. In addition, Dutch MPs have urged Rutte to bring up the problems faced by ‘accidental’ Americans who find themselves having to pay taxes in the US, and are having trouble opening bank accounts and arranging mortgages in the Netherlands because of US legislation known as Fatca.
Highlight of the meeting is likely to centre on an historic American flag which flew on a US navy ship leading the allied advance at D-day nearly 75 years ago. The flag will be handed to president Trump by collector Bert Kreuk who bought it for €450,000 in an auction in Dallas in 2016.
During his first meeting with Trump last year Rutte urged the US president to abandon plans to impose punitive tariffs on European cars to prevent the trade dispute escalating further.