G-7 Echoes Watered-Down Trade Language as Mnuchin Holds Firm


United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, leaves at the end of a plenary session during a G7 of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017. "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", the G7 communique read.

"We must not backpedal on free trade as it has contributed to economic prosperity", Aso said. Under the administration of Donald Trump, the USA 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.

"The document sums up the fruits of a relevant work carried out in the last months", Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told a final press conference.

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly charged that past administrations had failed to take a tough stand on enforcing trade agreements and this failure had cost millions of good-paying factory jobs and resulted in an enormous USA trade deficit.

BARI, Italy (AP) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says major trading partners "are much more comfortable" with the Trump administration's trade policies and understand U.S. growth will benefit them.

A "Bari Policy Agenda" signed at the meeting would provide an overall framework within which the G7 governments would try to foster a more inclusive growth through such tools.

Mnuchin had said that global trade should be "fair" and "reciprocal" during the G20 meeting in March, and his refusal to change his stance on the matter during this most recent G7 meeting stirs greater uncertainty in worldwide trade as the existing global consensus is perceived as crumbling without the active support of the world's largest economy. "The U.S. administration is quite new and the cooperation is improving", Schaeuble said.

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Trump has proposed slashing the US corporate income tax rate and offer multinational businesses a steep tax break on overseas profits brought back to the U.S. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group representing many advanced economies, has urged the U.S.to lower its corporate tax rate.

"We don't want to be protectionist", Mnuchin said.

The United States believes the world's other rich economies are getting used to the policy plans of President Donald Trump, but Europe and Japan remain anxious about Washington's shift.

Almost a decade after a financial crisis ripped through the global economy, G-7 officials said they are wary of another big threat to growth.

The group, consisting of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and U.K, also called for a renewed common effort against cybercrime.

Trade issues are likely to be taken up at a G-7 leaders' summit on May 26 to 27 in Taormina, Sicily, that Trump will attend.