Beijing says welcomes Mnuchin visit for crunch trade talks

22 April, 2018, 10:00 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. AFP

The proposal was approved late Saturday by the World Bank's Development Committee, which sets policies for the 189-nation lending agency.

Tensions between the world's two largest economies have cast a shadow over the gathering of finance ministers in Washington, with concerns a trade war could undercut the global recovery.

Such trade policies "impede stronger US and global growth, acting as a persistent drag on the global economy", Mnuchin said as the lending agencies were poised Saturday to wrap up their spring meetings, where the administration's "America First" approach has put it at odds with other countries. The three days of meetings wrap up Saturday. "Unilateral trade restrictions will only inflict harm on the global economy".

Many have used the finance meetings to protest President Trump's protectionist trade policies, which mark a reversal of seven decades of US support for ever-freer global commerce.

The Washington-based agency said this week that the USA government's growing budget deficit, which is likely to top USD1 trillion annually - some 5% of gross domestic product - will only widen the country's trade gap.

Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne of Argentina, which holds the rotating G20 presidency, said Friday that "concerns on trade disputes" took up part of the meeting. In addition to wrangling over trade, finance officials from the Group of 20 powerful economies focused on two other threats to growth - geopolitical risks and rising interest rates.

The United States was represented at the talks by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was attending his first G-20 gathering after taking over the top Fed job from Janet Yellen in February.


Mnuchin said he met with China's new central bank governor, Yi Gang, during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings and discussed the potential for China to open its markets to more foreign competition. China counterpunched by targeting $50 billion in US exports. "We urge the International Monetary Fund to speak out more forcefully on the issue of external imbalances".

"I look at this as a package transaction. we support a capital increase on the World Bank along with the associated reforms that they're talking about making", Mnuchin said, adding that he was hopeful Congress would approve the increase.

He noted that political disruption of trade flows is now one of the key risks to the world economy, which the IMFÂ projects to grow this year at an eight-year high of 3.9%. He said "tensions between the USA and China have taken a worrying turn".

Mnuchin differed markedly from his counterparts, saying the risk to global growth was from unfair trade practices, rather than the trade tensions.

Sirius XM "Steele & Ungar" host Rick Unger, Needham Investment Management portfolio manager Christopher Retzler and Republican strategist Kevin Paul Scott discuss whether President Trump will be able to make a trade deal with China.

President Donald Trump won the White House in 2016 with a campaign that repeatedly targeted nations such as China and Mexico, accusing them of unfair trade practices that have cost millions of American jobs.

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