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.

Attendees at the Christian Democratic Union’s business conference in Berlin laughed and clapped when organizers faded out Wilbur Ross after about 20 minutes for overstepping his time limit. Merkel, who had been craning her neck on the podium to watch Ross speak on a screen behind her, then took the floor to close out the evening.

“That was the U.S. secretary of commerce, who had promised us a 10-minute statement,” Werner M. Bahlsen, head of the CDU Economic Council, told the audience Tuesday evening. “As you saw, he spoke a bit slowly, so it took a bit longer. Now we look forward to the chancellor’s speech.”

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