US Treasury chief: trade partners like Trump policies


"We are excited about USA trade policies and I think you probably saw last night we made an announcement on a hundred day economic plan with the Chinese", he said as he headed into the meeting in the town's 13th-Century fortress.

Inclusive growth will be on top of the agenda of finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) members, who gathered on Thursday in the southern city of Bari for a three-day meeting. 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.

The communique said: "We will strive to reduce excessive global imbalances and in a way that supports global growth".

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.

"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.

Michel Sapin, France's minister for finance, said the other delegations had put pressure on the USA to not turn its back on global economic diplomacy. "Growth can not happen without social inclusion".

The Italian hosts say the meeting themes will include making economic growth benefit more people; coordination among worldwide financial organizations such as the global Monetary Fund and the World Bank; and efforts to stop companies from dodging taxes by moving income across borders.

"People have a level of understanding of Trump›s policies", Mnuchin said. A notable exception in the United Kingdom, where the Brexit process has revealed structural economic challenges similar to those in the US.

The lack of consensus was reflected in the blandness of the meeting's closing statement, which avoided a precise trade agreement. The US government seems to be favouring a bilateral, rather than multilateral, approach to global affairs, which falls in line with Trump's idea of global trade as "reciprocal".

The group is gathering with the global economy showing steady growth. Considering the lacklustre global recovery in the free trade era of 2010-2016, the USA representatives are even more convinced that domestic growth comes first.

Mnuchin apparently does not share such a viewpoint.

Steven Mnuchin's third encounter with the worldwide community, at a meeting of finance chiefs in Italy, deepened ties even as his government's "America First" policy continues to challenge the global economic consensus.

The United States believes the world's other rich economies are getting used to the policy plans of President Donald Trump, but Europe and Japan remain anxious about Washington's shift.