Mnuchin Says US Reserves Right To Be Protectionist

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

Finally, the G7 meeting did not address trade and the risks of protectionism, officials said.

G7 finance ministers turned their focus Saturday to combating cyber crime in what Italy's Pier Carlo Padoan described as an "unfortunately very timely" discussion.

"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. Economists point to the Trump administration's focus on reducing the US trade deficits with other countries rather than retraining the labor force.

Finance chiefs from numerous world's leading rich nations pressed the United States on Friday not to break a decades-long global consensus in areas such as trade and financial regulation criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump.

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, smiles as he takes a walk in the Puglian town of Bari, southern Italy, which is hosting a G7 of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, Thursday, May 11, 2017. OECD officials say US tax treaties with other countries already contain the multilateral deal's principles.

In theory, corporate tax cuts and deregulation along the lines proposed by Trump could address some of those problems in the world's largest economy.

There was an indicator of lingering mistrust from outgoing French finance minister Michel Sapin, who said Mnuchin had welcomed the election of Emmanuel Macron as France's new president.

"We need a strong United States, the United States needs the global economy and global economics on a sustainable way where the United States is still the most important political and economic partner and the best alliance for Europe", Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German Finance Minister, said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "has made protecting America's financial infrastructure from cyberattacks a top priority". Considering the lacklustre global recovery in the free trade era of 2010-2016, the U.S. representatives are even more convinced that domestic growth comes first.

In their closing statement on Saturday, the G7 will use the same language on trade, currencies and monetary policy as the G20 did in March, an Italian G7 official said.

"All the six others. said explicitly, and sometimes very directly, to the representatives of the U.S. administration that it is absolutely necessary to continue with the same spirit of global cooperation", Sapin told reporters at the end of the G7 meeting in southern Italy.

It "politically became impossible to sustain" the perception that workers are being taxed "and the big guys, the multinationals are not paying their fair share", he said. The G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the USA, and United Kingdom, with the European Union also attending the meeting.

"While many potential policy responses are largely domestic, some of them require, by definition, a collective effort", it stressed.

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

  • Salvatore Jensen