G7 pledges to make global growth more inclusive

Italy is at the G7 table because of its very hectic growth and Germany because of its great trade surplus, as finance minister Wolfgang Schauble is expected to face criticism in Bari.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin meets the press at the end of the G7 summit of finance ministers in Bari, Italy on Saturday.

Hammond said that he was at the meeting to "ensure a fair deal for Britain out of global trade to work together with our partners here to protect British citizens from external security threats", as well as ensuring that global companies pay their fair share of taxes in Britain.

Mr Mnuchin said the opening-up of the market for beef sales to China was a "huge deal" for the administration and for U.S. farmers.

"The global economy is facing a prolonged period of modest growth and high or rising inequalities in many countries, notably within countries with middle and lower income classes being particularly affected", the statement said.

Mnuchin's brand of diplomacy had already showed signs of evolution between that meeting and one in Washington a month later, with his position that trade be "fair" rather than "free" crystallizing into a call for "reciprocal free trade".

"Our approach is for more balanced trade, and people have heard that", Mnuchin said.

The United States said on 13 May the world's other rich economies were getting used to the policy plans of President Donald Trump, but Europe and Japan showed they remained anxious about Washington's shift.

Separately, the group, which includes the USA, also reiterated its commitment to global trade.

The G7 meeting, gathering financial leaders from the world's seven developed economies, run from May 11 to May 13 in the southern Italian city of Bari.

"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 at a news conference after the Bari meeting.

Later, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said he and other ministers told Mnuchin not to weaken global policies that had been put together painstakingly over years and had helped the world economy recover from the financial crisis that broke almost a decade ago.

The Italian delegation, which is responsible for all of this year's G7 meetings including a summit of global leaders in Sicily in May, had sought to avoid a repeat of the scrap that broke out between the USA delegation and everyone else in the room - bar Japan - at the G20 meeting held between finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden in March. He also said the administration had held "preliminary but productive discussions" with the Canadian and Mexican governments on Nafta.

Subsequently, many global trade issues were put off the table during the Bari meeting, and the G7 discussed economic growth, cyberattacks, fiscal policies, and financial regulation (or deregulation, the case with the US). Meanwhile, financial leaders warned the global recovery would still face various uncertainties.

While formal negotiations have yet to begin, Mnuchin expressed optimism that the countries would be able to fix the trade agreement in a way that would be a win for all three countries.

Almost a decade after a financial crisis ripped through the global economy, G-7 officials said they are wary of another big threat to growth.

  • Zachary Reyes