Italians march in protest of G7 finance ministers and bankers meeting

Owen Stevens
May 19, 2017

British Finance Minister Philip Hammond attended the G7 meeting in Bari, Italy yesterdau and emphasised the need for the United Kingdom to have a strong voice in worldwide councils and in the Brexit negotiations.

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 USA 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.

A confrontation at G20 meetings of financial officials in Germany earlier in 2017 led the Italian delegation, which held the two-day G7 meeting in Bari, to leave the issue off the official agenda entirely.

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 worldwide free trade agreements.

The deal would allow US companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China and tackles a range of long-standing barriers, ending a ban on imports of USA beef and moving a step closer to allowing Chinese poultry on American supermarket shelves.

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

"We reaffirm our fiscal and monetary policies have been and will remain oriented towards meeting our respective domestic policy objectives, using domestic instruments and we will not target exchange rates for competitive purposes", the draft said, underlining the importance of refraining from competitive devaluations. A Canadian ministry statement called it a "productive discussion" and that Canada committed to working out a durable solution.

While noting "global recovery is gaining momentum", the communique said the world economy is facing "high and rising inequalities, notably within many countries and affecting in particular middle and lower income earners".

In a communique issued after their two-day meeting in Bari, southern Italy, the G-7 called cyberattacks "a growing threat" for the world economy and vowed to take measures in the wake of a global cyberattack Friday that infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries.

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

"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.

Mnuchin briefed Aso on planned US tax measures, including a drastic corporate tax cut, announced last month by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The G7 meeting, gathering financial leaders from the world's seven developed economies, run from May 11 to May 13 in the southern Italian city of Bari.

Besides ministers and governors from the Group of Seven - comprising Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Britain, and Japan, top officials from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also joined the meeting.

Other reports by VgToday

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