Economy

United States remains at odds with G7 partners over economic protectionist policies

United States remains at odds with G7 partners over economic protectionist policies

"We are excited about USA trade policies and I think you probably saw last night we made an announcement on a hundred day economic plan with the Chinese", he said as he headed into the meeting in the town's 13th-Century fortress.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin meets the press at the end of the G7 summit of finance ministers in Bari, Italy on Saturday. "Our approach is for more balanced trade, and people have heard that", Mnuchin told reporters. Under the administration of Donald Trump, the U.S. are feeling disadvantaged in global trade, not least due to other major currencies being undervalued compared to the dollar and unfavourable trade deals that the United States had signed up to in the past 25 years. "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", the statement read, stopping short of making a call for free trade or against protectionism.

"Our objective is to create opportunities for American workers to make things and export them", said Mnuchin, pointing to the administration's recent move to allow USA farmers to sell beef to China.

As growing protectionism is feared under the administration of US President Donald Trump, the statement skipped any explicit wording on protectionism, as did a statement issued by Group of 20 finance chiefs in March.

Trade was kept off the official agenda during the meeting.

Attention also focused on Trump's plans to cut USA corporate taxes.

The Italian G7 presidency has listed security as a "global public good" - including issues related to anti-terrorism financing, remittances and cyber security - and one of its four finance priorities.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Saturday's session on cybercrime was "unfortunately very timely", an apparent reference to the wave of ransomware attacks in which files were locked and payment demanded to unlock them. But he offered little detail.

"We need a strong United States, the United States needs the global economy and global economics on a sustainable way where the United States is still the most important political and economic partner and the best alliance for Europe", Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German Finance Minister, said.

The meeting also coincided with news of a significant foray by the Trump administration into global commerce.

G-7 governments-Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA -have struggled to turn their concern for inclusive growth into policy action, however.

Inclusive growth will be on top of the agenda of finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) members, who gathered on Thursday in the southern city of Bari for a three-day meeting.

A Group of Seven communique issued on Saturday said officials were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies" - a weaker pledge than the statement from the Group of 20 leaders a year ago to avoid protectionism in all its forms.


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