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emfizz.com June 28, 2017


U.S. Treasury's Mnuchin says U.S. reserves right to be protectionist

19 May 2017, 11:19 | Jan Cross

U.S. Treasury's Mnuchin says U.S. reserves right to be protectionist

U.S. Treasury's Mnuchin says U.S. reserves right to be protectionist

Ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven rich countries did not discuss the risk of trade protectionism, Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Saturday (May 13).

G7 finance ministers and central bank governors gather around a table inside the Norman-Swabian Castle, the venue of their summit in Bari, Italy.

Mr Mnuchin presented a more conciliatory picture of discussions at the Bari meetings, citing the US's new trade deal with China and its willingness to commit to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) as evidence that the administration was not anti-free trade - so long as it judged the conditions applied by other nations to be "fair". Under the administration of Donald Trump, the United States 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 USA had signed up to in the past 25 years. Increasing output per worker is key to generating growth, and economists say it may be held back by businesses' reluctance to invest in plants and equipment due to lingering fear from the Great Recession, as well as uncertainty about new regulations.

Coming after a global cyber attack infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

A draft communique of the meeting, to be published later on Saturday, said the seven countries would use all policy tools - fiscal, structural and monetary - to boost economic growth.

The topic was not included in the agenda for fear it might lead to a confrontation among ministers, considering the critical stand of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration towards global free trade agreements.

They also say the U.S. demand to balance trade bilaterally was not economically sound, because trade deficits and surpluses could only be analysed in a global context. During his presidential campaign, Trump 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.

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"To the extent people had patched their networks, this would have been prevented", said Mr. Mnuchin.

The final statement from the Bari meeting included a reference to "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", a word-for-word reproduction from March's G-20 in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States make up the G7.

While the commitment is weaker than the language in last year's G20 statement to avoid protectionism in all its forms, its inclusion comes despite talks on trade being left off the official agenda.

This meeting helps lay the foundation for the G7 meeting of global leaders that will take place later this month in which President Trump will attend.

"This is a reminder to all of us of the importance and focus on cyber security", Mnuchin said, according to Reuters.



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