The U.S. commerce secretary was cut off in mid-speech during a video feed to an event hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, underscoring how German patience with attacks on the country's trade surplus is fraying.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called on the United States and European Union to resume talks on a free trade agreement after the Trump administration gave the clearest signal yet that it was willing relaunch negotiations on such an accord.
Merkel then took the stage. The Trump administration made a "conscious decision not to walk away from" the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Ross said.
Germany, which past year turned in a record trade surplus, has been in Washington's sights since Trump came to power. "The fact that BMW's biggest vehicle factory is not in Germany but in the U.S. must also be kept in mind when considering trade balances", she said.
Merkel and others have tried to explain that Germany is part of the European Union and therefore can't trade individually with the USA - it's the whole bloc, or no one.
"But on the issue of climate protection or free trade, we do not have this at the moment", she said, adding that Trump had a vision of globalisation "that is different to mine - very much so". She also called for German companies to invest in America. Trump said Germany is selling too many cars in the US, which hurts the American automotive industry.
The bill is widely supported by most parties and is expected to pass, particularly after Merkel gave members of her own party her blessing to vote their conscience. The TTIP negotiations were started in 2013, with the main goal being establishing a large free trade space on both sides of the Atlantic, have suddenly been interrupted by the election of Donald Trump, whose economic program is strongly marked by protectionism. It's a rare point of agreement on trade policy between Trump and Merkel, who will be key players when G-20 leaders seek to agree on shared goals. But with three months of campaigning to go until the September 24 parliamentary election, Merkel's early retreat may prove to have been the better strategic choice.