German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes U.S. offer to resume TTIP talks

US commerce secretary backs free trade deal with Europe

German investments in the US provide jobs for Americans, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday in a push for a free trade agreement.

Ross told a conference in Berlin attended by Merkel that the USA had made a "conscious decision not to walk away from TTIP" when it ditched the Pacific accord.

The part of Ross's remarks that were shown involved "renewed criticism of Germany's trade surplus with the US", according to Bloomberg, which reports that attendees at the Christian Democratic Union's conference "laughed and clapped" when the secretary's speech was cut short.

Initial talks on the TTIP, which would create a huge free trade area on both sides of the Atlantic, came to a halt when Donald Trump won the United States presidency after campaigning on a protectionist programme. Trump also has criticized Germany for its sizeable trade surplus with the United States. "Now we look forward to the chancellor's speech", he continued. "Terrible. We'll stop that".

Meanwhile, Merkel, in her address, stressed that the USA was a direct benefactor of the German trade, saying that German investments in the US were a major job creator for the country. "The fact that BMW's biggest auto factory is not in Germany but in the USA must also be kept in mind when considering trade balances", she said.

Merkel, speaking after Ross, said that "we should resume work on a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States".

However, his speech on Tuesday was the clearest signal yet that talks could resume.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Ross spoke onscreen for about 20 minutes at an event hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party before organizers cut off his video feed.

Ross's comments included renewed criticism of Germany's trade surplus with the USA, which President Donald Trump has used repeatedly to pillory Europe's biggest economy. 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.

Trump campaigned on a protectionist platform and on a repeated mantra of "America first".

Merkel says her opinion on the matter changed after spending time with a lesbian couple who fostered eight children.



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