G7 finance ministers puzzle over Trump's policies

Owen Stevens
May 14, 2017

The statement said fiscal policy should be used to help job creation while keeping public debt on a sustainable path and monetary policy should help economic activity without fuelling strong inflation.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin meets the press at the end of the G7 summit of finance ministers in Bari, Italy on Saturday.

The closing statement from Bari will reiterate a warning against competitive devaluations, Italian officials said, as March's G20 did, allaying fears that the new US administration might weaken the G20's united front on global currency policy.GREEKS FOR BREAKFAST The G7 will kick off on Friday with an early morning discussion of Greece's debt ahead of a May 22 meeting of euro zone finance ministers on the disbursement of new loans, French officials said.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin arrives for the opening session of the G7 of Finance ministers in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017.

Despite Mnuchin's remarks, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso expressed hope that the G-7 leaders, including Trump, will narrow the group's gap on trade when they gather in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26 to 27.

"All the six others. said explicitly, and some very directly, to the representatives of the US administration that it is absolutely necessary to continue with the same spirit of worldwide cooperation", said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin. 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".

A senior US Treasury official said Mnuchin had been quizzed on a series of issues, including Trump's tax-cutting plans. In the bilateral talks, Padoan assured his USA counterpart the stock of non-performing loans (NPLs) burdening Italy's banking system would return to more 'physiological levels in short time, Ansa news agency quoted sources from te Italian G7 presidency as saying.

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

"Minister Morneau defended Canada's position on open trade and recent trade issues such as softwood lumber", the release stated.

While the International Monetary Fund forecast in April that world economic growth will accelerate to 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018 from 3.1 percent in 2016, some G-7 members referred to uncertainties in the global growth outlook, the official told reporters, requesting anonymity.

The G-7 is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

"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.

BARI, Italy (AP) — Finance ministers from seven rich countries were wrapping up work Saturday on efforts to make growth more inclusive and to fight tax evasion and illicit money flows.

Other reports by VgToday

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