German parliament to vote on same-sex marriage this week

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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.

BERLIN, June 28 Germany's parliament is set on Friday to vote to allow marriages between people of the same sex, embarrassing Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and handing her Social Democrat (SPD) challengers a rare victory months before a national election.

The comments followed an address from Wilbur Ross, the US secretary of commerce, who said Trump is open to resume talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

He did not specify what kind of broad-scale measures President Donald Trump would take to tackle overcapacity in the steel sector, a major issue for an administration that says it wants to make USA trade ties fairer.

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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.

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.

"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). German officials said earlier that Ross had canceled a trip to Berlin to address the meeting in person.

He said, "We believe that we have in Europe a good counterparty".

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"It would be reasonable to continue the TTIP negotiations and work on a solution that will generally increase our exchange, reducing our trade deficit", he said.

Merkel, speaking after Ross, said that "we should resume work on a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States". Germany, which has a record trade surplus, is the target of a new American administration accusing it of unfair competition.

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

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