Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

G7 Finance Chiefs Try to Gauge US Plans


G7 finance ministers and representatives of central banks met in Bari, Italy, on Friday and Saturday. European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he hoped Trump would not abandon multilateralism and free trade.

The Associated Press reports, "Mnuchin says 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 US growth".

A senior US Treasury official said Mnuchin had been quizzed on a series of issues, including Trump's tax-cutting plans.

The draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, also said the G7 financial leaders would strengthen cooperation to counter cyber threats such as a global online attack which infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

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 US trade deficit.

Populist anger at trade, globalization and manufacturing job losses fueled Trump's ascent to the USA presidency, played a role in Britain's decision to exit the European Union, and propelled an antiglobalism candidate into the French presidential runoff vote earlier this month. -Canada trade relationship is to both economies. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group representing many advanced economies, has urged the U.S.to lower its corporate tax rate.

Mnuchin's presence was overshadowed by a political firestorm in Washington after Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, whose agency was investigating links between the president's 2016 election campaign and the Russian government. But he offered little detail.

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Italy's Minister of Economy and Finance Pier Carlo Padoan said there was agreement that trade is a "fundamentally positive situation we want to maintain and cultivate going forward".

Monetary policy should continue to support the economy, they said, while recognizing the world faces a prolonged period of modest growth and rising inequality.

The statement also stressed the need for common practices to detect vulnerabilities in the global financial system.

"'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 worldwide cooperation, ' French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters". The European Union also attends meetings of the group.

Today's meeting in the southern Italian town Bari is paving the way for a meeting between the G-7 leaders in Taormina, Sicily in May 26-27.

The finance ministers and central bank governors from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States also pledged to use all policy tools - monetary, fiscal and structural; individually and collectively - to promote sustainable and inclusive growth.

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