US Treasury chief to brief key allies on Trump policies

Posted May 20, 2017

But unlike a G7 leaders' communiqué of 2016, the Bari meeting did not endorse free trade and reject protectionism, reflecting pressure from the United States where President Donald Trump has signaled his skepticism about free trade deals.

The senior Japanese official said pro-EU Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential election was injecting optimism into G-7 discussions on the world economy and financial markets.

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.

Mr Mnuchin said the opening-up of the market for beef sales to China was a "huge deal" for the administration and for United States farmers.

Kristian Rouz - A Group of Seven (G7) meeting revealed the deepening divide between the attitudes of the increasingly protectionist U.S. 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. -Canada trade relationship is to both economies.

But ministers from the other G7 countries made it clear they did not share the USA secretary's view.

Steps taken by President Trump on trade and regulation since taking office have left foreign counterparts jittery.

Mnuchin told reporters that he did not think Friday's attack showed the financial system was unprepared but he said more could still be done at the company level. But he offered little detail.

According to The AP, "one partner openly pushing back was Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who rejected as "baseless" duties the US imposed on some Canadian lumber imports".

The meeting also coincided with news of a significant foray by the Trump administration into global commerce. The European Union also attends the informal forum.

According to a draft statement seen by Reuters, the G7 will say cyber incidents represent a growing threat for their economies and that appropriate economy-wide policy responses are needed.

That divergence augurs for potential disagreements when the nations' leaders gather in Sicily later this month - an event which marks Trump's first major worldwide summit as U.S. President.

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.

A Group of Seven communique issued on Saturday said officials were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies" - a weaker pledge than the statement from the Group of 20 leaders past year to avoid protectionism in all its forms.