G7 finance chiefs talk cyber security in wake of attacks

But he said the continued uncertainty about the direction of USA policy represented a risk, echoing comments made on Friday by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso.

The G7 meetings in Italy was also overshadowed by the inability of the members to adopt a united stance on issues such as imposing sanctions on Russian Federation and how to deal with a UN-backed deal on climate change, which the new US administration views with skepticism.

The call was made in a statement issued at end of the two-day summit of G-7 foreign ministers in Bari, Italy today.

Aso told reporters that he has come to see that Trump's trade policy - widely viewed as protectionist - is no different from previous administrations in favor of free trade.

Instead of trade, the talks - held in a 12th-century Norman castle - focused on economic growth and inclusion.

"We do not want to be protectionist but we reserve our right to be protectionist to the extent that we believe trade is not free and fair..."

The Italian G7 presidency has listed security as a "global public good" - including issues related to anti-terrorism financing, remittances and cyber security - and one of its four finance priorities.

Officials from the Group of Seven are also taking the opportunity to hear more about the Trump administration's economic proposals from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Michel Sapin, France's minister for finance, said the other delegations had put pressure on the United States to not turn its back on global economic diplomacy.

Trump has proposed slashing the United States of America corporate income tax rate and offer multinational businesses a steep tax break on overseas profits brought back to the U.S. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group representing many advanced economies, has urged the U.S.to lower its corporate tax rate.

According to one Italian official, however, it is evident that Mnuchin will not change the United States position on trade.

The deal would allow US companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China and tackles a range of long-standing barriers, ending a ban on imports of USA beef and moving a step closer to allowing Chinese poultry on American supermarket shelves.

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

The ministers were expected to commit to stepping up worldwide cooperation on the issue after a global onslaught that hit computer systems in almost 100 countries on Friday.

A broader theme not on the written agenda, however, was the desire of foreign leaders to get a better read on President Donald Trump's policies, as well as USA officials' desire to make their positions clear. Economists point to the Trump administration's focus on reducing the US trade deficits with other countries rather than retraining the labor force.

Besides ministers and governors from the Group of Seven - comprising Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Britain, and Japan, top officials from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also joined the meeting.

"People have a level of understanding of Trump›s policies", Mnuchin said.

  • Zachary Reyes