Mnuchin: US partners more comfortable with Trump on trade

Posted May 14, 2017

The draft will be reviewed before publication later on Saturday by the G7 finance ministers and central bankers who are discussing issues facing the world economy at a two-day meeting in Bari, Italy.

"We are excited about USA trade policies and I think you probably saw we made an announcement of a 100-day economic plan with the Chinese so I think we're very happy with how we're proceeding with the Chinese", the former banker said.

Whilst the message of the meeting was predominantly a repetition of the G20 meeting held in March, reiterating the nations' commitment to free trade, the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hinted the US no longer intends to contribute to strengthening worldwide trade ties between nations, putting their own economic interest first.

There is also some concern Mr. Trump's tax plan could push the country deeper into debt, raising questions over the administration's argument that cutting corporate tax levels to 15% from their current 35% rate will be financed by revenue generated by a higher pace of economic expansion.

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said there was a "light breeze" of optimism within the G7 about the recovering global economy after years of sluggish growth following the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago. Trade was however expected to feature in bilateral talks, particularly with Japan and Germany, both large net exporters suspected by Trump of benefiting unfairly from their respective dollar exchange rates.

While holding firm on that despite attempts to persuade him to give ground, Mnuchin said his colleagues were gaining a better understanding of what President Trump's policies mean for the US and the rest of the world. Under the administration of Donald Trump, the USA are feeling disadvantaged in global trade, not least due to other major currencies being undervalued compared to the dollar and unfavourable trade deals that the USA had signed up to in the past 25 years.

The threat of a trade war is only one of several risks to the global economy, however.

Mnuchin said a trade deal announced Friday with China showed the success of the Trump administration's trade approach. But he offered little detail.

But despite fear of restrictive trade practices under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the G-7 statement, issued after a meeting in southern Italy, skipped any explicit wording on protectionism, as did the finance chief's statement of the Group of 20 economies at their gathering in March.

"We need a strong United States to lead the global economy and global politics in a sustainable way", said Schaeuble.

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

"The so-called web tax is something that is taking form", Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said.

The G-7 countries are: Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom; the European Union also attends the informal meetings.