Italians march in protest of G7 finance ministers and bankers meeting

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 20, 2017

Highlighting the gap between the Trump administration and other countries, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the United States reserves the right to be protectionist on trade.

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.

Mnuchin said his meetings with finance leaders had led to better understanding of the USA president's position that trade must be fair and balanced as well as open.

According to Reuters, "other ministers from the G7 countries made it clear they did not share [Mnuchin's] view".

Greece's creditors, including the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will be in Bari.

The meeting drew finance ministers and central bank governors from the world's seven most developed economies in the southern Italian city of Bari from Thursday to Saturday.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed. While holding firm on that despite attempts to persuade him to give ground, Mnuchin said his colleagues were gaining a better understanding of what President Trump's policies mean for the US and the rest of the world.

They also called for a renewed common effort against cybercrime, a timely message in the wake of Friday's ransom ware attacks in dozens of countries. Trump has vowed to press for trade that is fair as well as open and benefits USA workers, and has focused on bilateral, or country-to-country, relations.

The final statement from the Bari meeting included a reference to "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", a word-for-word reproduction from March's G-20 in Baden-Baden, Germany. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group representing many advanced economies, has urged the U.S.to lower its corporate tax rate.

Mnuchin said he "couldn›t be happier with the last two days".

When asked if G7 ministers were concerned about the potential for US tax reform to cause the income gap to widen, Secretary Mnuchin said, "Reductions in the highest tax rates will be offset by reductions in deductions".

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

"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.

Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States make up the G7.

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