Wilbur Ross was addressing the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) political party conference in Berlin via video when his feed abruptly ended after 20 minutes due to time constraints.
The crowd laughed and cheered at the organiser's decision to cut him off as they waited for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sitting on stage in front of the video screen, to speak.
“[He] had promised us a 10-minute statement,” said Werner Bahlsen of the CDU, adding that Mr Ross spoke “a bit slowly,” according to Bloomberg.
Mr Ross parroted Donald Trump’s criticism of the German trade surplus with the US, but did agree with Ms Merkel that negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreement should begin again.
“As your biggest customer, we hope to obtain a larger share of your market…[and as partners] should have a free-trade agreement,” he said.
The two countries have had a more tense relationship since Mr Trump and Ms Merkel’s White House visit in March when the President chastised Germany for not spending a “fair” amount on defence as an ally in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) military alliance.
Ms Merkel later lambasted Mr Trump for his withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change after urging him to remain in it when the two met in Brussels and Sicily for Nato and G7 meetings.
The pair will meet again for the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg o
n 7-8 July where Ms Merkel said there will be “controversial discussions”.