G-7 nations seek ways to make growth help more people

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, leaves at the end of a plenary session during a G7 of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017. Still, both he and Mnuchin stressed how important the U.S.

In a final statement, the ministers said, "we reiterate our commitment to global economic and financial cooperation and we remain determined to use all policy tools - monetary, fiscal and structural - individually and collectively to achieve our goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth".

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly charged that past administrations had failed to take a tough stand on enforcing trade agreements and that this failure had cost millions of good-paying factory jobs and resulted in an enormous US trade deficit.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is to explain Trump's plans to cut business taxes and regulation, as well as the president's push for what he considers more balanced trading relationships. The US government sees domestic growth objectives in each as crucial for achieving significant improvements in global economy, but the rest of the G7 seems to think otherwise, seeing global trade as key source of growth. "We don't want to be protectionist but we reserve our right to be protectionist to the extent that we believe trade is not free and fair".

Mnuchin said preliminary discussions have begun with Canada and Mexico to renegotiate NAFTA, a topic that came up for discussion during his one-on-one meeting with Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Attention also focused on Trump's plans to cut USA corporate taxes.

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The China deal, securing better access to the big Chinese market for USA beef, natural gas and some financial services, was welcomed by Mnuchin. "We're going to try to get this done as quickly as we can".

"Of course we recognize that there are different starting points, different views in different countries", the chair of the talks, Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, told Bloomberg Television, adding that "this is not an obstacle to reaching a common perspective".

He said the administration was focused on growth, "and growth in the United States is good for the world economy".

The meeting also coincided with news of a significant foray by the Trump administration into global commerce.

Trade issues are likely to be taken up at a G-7 leaders' summit on May 26 to 27 in Taormina, Sicily, that Trump will attend.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Britain met in the Italian city of Bari to discuss the world economy, combating terrorist funding, cyber security and taxes.

Still, a final agreement issued by G7 ministers on Saturday said officials were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies" - a far weaker pledge than last year's statement from the Group of 20 leaders to disavow any signs of protectionism.

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