German Parliament set to vote Friday on gay marriage

German Chancellor Angela Merkel center smiles as she attends a round table meeting at an EU Summit in Brussels on Friday

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the proposal of the U.S. and European Union (EU) to resume talks on a free trade agreement after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday said that Washington remains open to a free trade pact with the EU.

"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).

The vote will be held on Friday in Parliament, a snap referendum hastily assembled once Merkel dropped her public opposition. "Now we look forward to the chancellor's speech", he continued.

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 US trade ties fairer. Trump has expressed frustration with Germany, following reports that its trade surplus over the United States previous year amounted to some $65 billion (57 billion euros). Ross had canceled a planned visit to Berlin on Tuesday.

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

President Donald Trump said he would rather see a rich man as a person in charge of the economy, reports DPA, adding that Trump defended the fact that his cabinet is considered to be the richest in the country's history.

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"As your biggest customer, we hope to obtain a larger share of your market", he said.

"I stand before you tonight to say this in a more explicit fashion: we, as major trading partners of each other, should have a free trade agreement", Ross said.

Ross' address comes one week before the Merkel and Trump will meet with their worldwide counterparts at the G-20 summit in Hamburg.

Chinese steel already is subject to dozens of USA anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, sharply limiting China's direct share of the US steel market.

However, Ross told German lawmakers that the Trump administration sees "little point in negotiating treaties that will not be honored" and that the United States has in Europe "a good counterparty with whom we have had, and will continue to have, productive discussions that benefit all".

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