Financial leaders push for free trade

Financial leaders push for free trade

The world's top financial officials made a call Tuesday for open trade and more dialogue at a time of growing criticism that tariffs imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump might trigger a global trade war.

A draft G20 communique seen by Reuters last week said something similar but it was not clear if it would be retained in the final version of the statement to be published on Tuesday and which has to be agreed by unanimity.

Japan told its G20 counterparts that protectionism benefits no country and was among key risks to the global economy as it would shrink trade, Kihara told reporters on Monday after attending the first day of the two-day gathering. Japan has been seeking to discuss an exemption from the US measure.

The financial leaders, however, recognize the need for further dialogue and actions.

"There's a risk of a trade war, the president has said we're not afraid of getting into a trade war, given the size of our market, the size of our economy, and the fact that we have a big trade deficit", Mnuchin said.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, comparing this G20 meeting to the one in Germany previous year when Mnuchin demanded a rewrite of the longstanding communique language on trade, said the rest of the world now has a better sense of the USA view on how the rules of trade should be reworked.

"There is an absolute consensus for free trade,"?Scholz said.


Mr Trump is expected on Friday to announce new tariffs on up to US$60 billion (S$79 billion) worth of Chinese technology and consumer goods annually, to punish Beijing over its drive to acquire United States intellectual property, sources told Reuters.

"Free and fair trade is something that we believe in".

The G-20 officials acknowledged that technological innovation, including that underlying cryptocurrencies, has the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system and the economy more broadly. "There hasn't been any voice against rule-based multilateralism".

"While there were concerns raised on bilateral protectionism, many countries also talked about global imbalances. and how they must be looked at from a global perspective rather than a bilateral one", the official said.

European Union leaders plan to discuss the tariffs on Thursday, hoping to avert a potential trade war while remaining determined to press on with free trade deals with the Mercosur countries of South America and Mexico.

"I think we should reach that goal".

But they also noted that such assets raise issues related to consumer and investor protection, market integrity, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing.

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