Finance

USA issues trade challenge at fraught G20

USA issues trade challenge at fraught G20”

Language from last year's statement vowing to "resist all forms of protectionism" was dropped and showed a clear acknowledgement of Mr Trump's "America first" agenda.

Trump railed against global trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement and former President Barack Obama's proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. During his campaign, Trump threatened unilateral tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods and said he would quit the North American Free Trade agreement unless it is renegotiated to his liking.

Ministers chose to give a little now in hopes that they can come up with language later that will satisfy most of the G-20 and Donald Trump before the meeting of principals in July.

They made the remarks on March 17 at the BRICS summit for finance ministers and central bankers held in Germany's southwestern city of Baden-Baden. Both changes came about at the behest of the United States delegation, backing other G-20 members into a corner.

Gary Schmitt, co-director of the Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said Trump could be sending a signal to other leaders that this is a negotiation, and the actions by Mnuchin at the meeting are an opening bid.

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Clear support emerged last week from Group of 20 (G20) members' Finance Ministers and central bank governors for the broadening of global economic and financial cooperation with African countries to "foster sustainable and inclusive growth" in line with the African Union's Agenda 2063. "As highlighted in our discussion at the G20 High Level Tax Symposium, we emphasize the effectiveness of tax policy tools in supply-side structural reform for promoting innovation-driven, inclusive growth, as well as the benefits of tax certainty to promote investment and trade".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shrugged off the outcry, saying the "historical language" was not relevant.

It was against this backdrop that the G20 dropped an anti-protectionist commitment from its communique after opposition from the US. So far, he is one of the only members of Trump's Cabinet who has sought to develop relationships with foreign leaders.

The US is nudging the G-20 to change course. "He is very constructive and talking about good relationships with all of his global counterparts".



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