Published: Sat, July 01, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Germans yank United States commerce secretary mid-speech

Germans yank United States commerce secretary mid-speech

German Chancellor #Angela Merkel has announced the resumption of European Union and United States negotiations on a #Free Trade Agreement that was postponed after #Donald Trump became the U.S. president.

In his remarks, Ross, who had pulled out of a physical appearance at the last minute, was reiterating President Trump's criticisms of Germany's trade surplus.

The chancellor's U-turn means that same-sex marriage could be approved in Germany as soon as this week, with a vote set to take place in parliament on Friday.

Merkel, who will host leaders of the G20 leading economies next week at a Hamburg summit where trade is expected to be one of the most divisive issues, also said that Germany's large trade surplus was partly the result of factors beyond her influence: the ECB's expansive monetary policy and energy prices. German officials said earlier that Ross had canceled a trip to Berlin to address the meeting in person. "The fact that BMW's biggest vehicle factory is not in Germany but in the USA must also be kept in mind when considering trade balances", she said. The Trump administration made a "conscious decision not to walk away from" the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Ross said.

"I am in favor of resuming negotiations on such a free trade accord and to jointly solve all the problems", the conservative chancellor said at the economic forum organized by its Christian-Democratic Union (CDU).

However, Ross sided with Merkel saying the US and the European Union should restart Transatlantic Trade an Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Germany, which a year ago turned in a record trade surplus, has been in Washington's sights since Trump came to power.

Despite previous opposition German Chancellor Angela Merkel is willing to give MPs a free vote on the issue of gay marriage.

"We have absolutely no ground to believe that German steel exports to the USA pose a threat to the country's security", ministry spokeswoman Tanja Alemany told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday.

The chancellor in her speech welcomed Ross' support for restarting talks on TTIP, a goal she and former President Barack Obama championed.

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