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20 May 2017, 02:49 | Jan Cross
G7 finance chiefs vow to unite against cyber crime
BARI, Italy (AP) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that major trading partners are "much more comfortable" with the Trump administration's stance on trade and tax policy and understand that they will benefit from the intended U.S. growth.
G-7 governments-Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US -have struggled to turn their concern for inclusive growth into policy action, however. While holding firm on that despite attempts to persuade him to give ground, Mnuchin said his colleagues were gaining a better understanding of what President Trump's policies mean for the US and the rest of the world.
While trade was not specifically on the agenda, its presence loomed large as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came under pressure to engage on the matter.
He was to meet separately Friday with Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, and then with Japan's deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso.
Steps taken by President Trump on trade and regulation since taking office have left foreign counterparts jittery.
Their statement on the global economic threat posed by cyberattacks was released a day after tens of thousands of computers in some 100 countries were infected through a cyberattack.
"It is important, protectionism is off the table, I think that there was no disagreement over the fact that trade promotes growth, and has to be inclusive", Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told Bloomberg Television.
The US is adamantly challenging the status quo in worldwide trade, and as a result, the most recent G7 meeting produced an indecisive communique, indicating the rising degree of uncertainty, possibly bearing the seeds of trade wars and greater currency manipulations in the global struggle for competitiveness.
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Steven Mnuchin's third encounter with the worldwide community, at a meeting of finance chiefs in Italy, deepened ties even as his government's "America First" policy continues to challenge the global economic consensus.
Still, a final agreement issued by G7 ministers on Saturday said officials were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies" - a far weaker pledge than last year's statement from the Group of 20 leaders to disavow any signs of protectionism.
The gathering paved the way for a meeting of national leaders in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26-27.
Mnuchin was not present at the early Friday session of the G7 meeting, joining his colleagues later and holding bilateral talks with his Italian, German and Japanese colleagues, among others.
"To the extent people had patched their networks, this would have been prevented", said Mr. Mnuchin.
Other issues discussed included debt relief for Greece.
The deal would allow USA companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China and tackles a range of long-standing barriers, ending a ban on imports of US beef and moving a step closer to allowing Chinese poultry on American supermarket shelves.
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