US Treasury chief: trade partners like Trump policies

Top finance officials from seven advanced economies have gathered to hear more about U.S. President Donald Trump's economic policies on taxation and trade, as well as to look for ways to promote growth, combat terrorist financing and stop tax avoidance by major corporations.

"We will strive to reduce excessive global imbalances and in a way that supports global growth".

Populist anger at trade, globalization and manufacturing job losses fueled Trump's ascent to the USA presidency, played a role in Britain's decision to exit the European Union, and propelled an antiglobalism candidate into the French presidential runoff vote earlier this month.

The G20's reference to trade said only that they were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies".

Asked how pro-active the U.S. delegation had been on the first day of the G7, France's Sapin said they had been "quite discreet in their presence", and he appeared to take a swipe at Trump's frequent use of Twitter.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met behind closed doors in the afternoon, while an official ceremony to welcome the other participants was scheduled at the Petruzzelli theatre in the evening. "It is unthinkable and it will not happen that we destroy the framework that has given us stability and economic growth".

"Against this backdrop. we remain determined to use all policy tools - monetary, fiscal and structural - to achieve our goal of strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth".

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United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, is flanked by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, following their bilateral talks, at the G7 of Ministers of finance, in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017. "We are very happy on how we are proceeding on trade".

"We recognize that cyber incidents represent a growing threat for our economies and that appropriate economy-wide policy responses are needed", the countries' finance ministers and central bankers said in the statement.

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

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

Mnuchin apparently does not share such a viewpoint.

The deal, securing better access to the Chinese market for USA beef, natural gas and some financial services, was welcomed by Mnuchin. Mnuchin's practice of "speed-dating" (in his own words) other nations' finance ministers also suggests a rising degree of protectionism, pragmatism, and bilateralism in everything USA-related from this point on, which is a huge leap away from the idealistic global unanimity on every single challenge the world economy is facing. He said they understand that "we don't want to be protectionist, but we reserve our right to be protectionist to the extent we believe trade is not free and fair".

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