Mnuchin: US partners more comfortable with Trump on trade

Monday, 15 May, 2017

Italians in Bari have protested against a summit of finance ministers and top bankers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrial countries, blaming the group for global poverty and social inequality. Earlier, he told reporters that "the relationship with Mnuchin improves every time we see each other".

Mnuchin, who skipped the opening session in Bari where academics spoke on inequality and growth and arrived long after other ministers, told reporters he was "excited" about the emerging new US trade policy.

"We will strive to reduce excessive global imbalances and in a way that supports global growth".

The meeting, which will continue into Saturday, is the first Group of Seven (G7) outing for Steven Mnuchin, Trump's Treasury Secretary and a former Goldman Sachs banker tasked with delivering the USA economic agenda.

Kristian Rouz - A Group of Seven (G7) meeting revealed the deepening divide between the attitudes of the increasingly protectionist USA and the rest of the world's largest economies, which are attempting to uphold the free trade approach to the global exchange in goods and services.

The Secretary pointed to the recently announced trade agreement with China as a step in the right direction, as the Trump administration pushes trade deals and negotiations with several key trading partners for more balanced growth.

Italian G7 officials said Trump's tax proposal is not part of the weekend's agenda, but foreign counterparts are following developments in Washington very closely.

De Galhau echoed the sentiments of Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, who said, "We must not backpedal on free trade, as it has contributed to economic prosperity".

The communique said: "We will strive to reduce excessive global imbalances and in a way that supports global growth".

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Mnuchin spoke after face-to-face meetings with major trade partners such as Germany, Japan and Canada at the Group of Seven finance ministers' meeting in Bari, Italy.

"This is a reminder to all of us of the importance and focus on cyber security", said U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"We need a strong United States to lead the global economy and global politics in a sustainable way", said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble when asked his message for US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

But trade is expected to feature in bilateral talks, particularly with Japan and Germany, both large net exporters suspected by Trump of benefiting unfairly from their respective dollar exchange rates.

The G7 financial leaders in Bari were set to repeat a line agreed by the broader Group of 20 in March which said: "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies".

"I am focused on a middle income tax cut". "We have to do that in a more profound way. and I think that is what is going on", he said.

"All the six others. said explicitly, and sometimes very directly, to the representatives of the US administration that it is absolutely necessary to continue with the same spirit of global cooperation", French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters.

The agreements, presented in the form of a final statement, are not legally binding but they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.