Mnuchin Says U.S. Reserves Right To Be Protectionist

He said the Trump administration's economic policies aren't directly aimed at pursuing policies that would restrict trade, but rather are meant to spur US growth and aid the global economy.

"People are much more comfortable today now that they've had the opportunity to spend time with me and listen to the president and listen to the economic message on what the economic agenda is, and that's about creating growth in the United States", Mnuchin told reporters after the meeting.

Mr Mnuchin presented a more conciliatory picture of discussions at the Bari meetings, citing the US's new trade deal with China and its willingness to commit to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) as evidence that the administration was not anti-free trade - so long as it judged the conditions applied by other nations to be "fair".

While the commitment is weaker than the language in last year's G20 statement to avoid protectionism in all its forms, its inclusion comes despite talks on trade being left off the official agenda.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he hoped Trump would not abandon multilateralism and free trade.

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 lower its corporate tax rate.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the world's seven biggest economic powers have kept their watered-down promise to promote free trade, as the new United States administration's reluctance to commit to a full-throated defence against protectionism remained firm.

"These global cyberattacks highlight the real world consequences of technological vulnerabilities", a senior US Treasury Department officials told reporters on the return flight from the G7 gathering of financial chiefs in Bari, Italy. The Treasury secretary said the administration's commitment to economic growth of 3 per cent would be good for the USA and for the global economy. "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies".

But members have successfully persuaded the U.S. to maintain a commitment to free trade. The IMF, which insists on debt relief for Athens, complained that the euro zone was still dragging its heels on the issue.

Group of Seven finance chiefs signed up to a pared-down pledge on global trade as the presence of Donald Trump's administration of the world stage continued to redefine the established economic order.

Asked how pro-active the USA delegation had been on the first day of the G-7, 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.

"We reaffirm our fiscal and monetary policies have been and will remain oriented towards meeting our respective domestic policy objectives, using domestic instruments and we will not target exchange rates for competitive purposes", it said, underlining the importance of refraining from competitive devaluations.

  • Zachary Reyes