Finance chiefs to US: Don't upset consensus

Posted May 14, 2017

Mnuchin's remarks on trade policy has become clearer than those made at the broader G20 financial chiefs' meeting in Germany in March, Aso told reporters at the end of the G7 meeting.

The G-7 countries have called for taking steps to make the global economy work for everyone. 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.

"Frankly no, we discussed it but we don't know anything", Visco said.

Trade had been left off the official agenda, the Financial Times reported, to avoid the controversial issue of protectionism, which has led to diplomatic friction between the members and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

But the priority for most officials in Bari was to get a sense of how far the Trump administration meant to go with its promises of reworking trade agreements, rules to prevent a repeat of the global financial crisis and other key areas.

Even with the apparent thaw in relations, the USA still stands apart from the rest of G-7 on trade, climate change and other issues.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters he hoped United States policy would not abandon multilateralism and free trade.

The meeting focused on finance and security issues such as keeping multinationals from dodging taxes and a collective response to cybercrime like the ransomware attack that hit dozens of countries on Friday.

The tax reform plans were also questioned by some European officials.

"It is unthinkable, and it will not happen, that one can destroy these collective achievements that give more stability. and at the end of the day are truly in everyone's interests", said Sapin, who is likely to lose his job soon following Emmanuel Macron's election as president this month. "We're going to try to get this done as quickly as we can".

Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, the G7 host, said Trump's plan to slash taxes on businesses was "ambitious" and he was keen to hear more about it from Mnuchin.

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

They also say the U.S. demand to balance trade bilaterally was not economically sound, because trade deficits and surpluses could only be analysed in a global context.

G-7 governments-Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US -have struggled to turn their concern for inclusive growth into policy action, however.

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 group's agreements aren't legally binding; instead, they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.