G20 finance chiefs talk unity despite trade war

It was harmony not war.Amid growing tensions between the United States and its major trading partners, finance...

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 10:44 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 10:44 AM

It was harmony not war.

Amid growing tensions between the United States and its major trading partners, finance ministers of the world's 20 biggest economies managed to end their summit in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires without major controversy.

And yet there's little evidence trade conflicts will be resolved anytime soon. Even so, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought to minimize simmering tensions at this weekend's two-day summit, calling talks with US allies on trade and other matters "very productive."

"I don't take away that we are divided," said Mnuchin, who held 14 different bilateral meetings, including with finance chiefs from Canada, Mexico, France, Japan and the United Kingdom. "We had good conversations. We have trade disputes that we are trying to resolve."

"People are trying to make this about US protectionism -- that's not the case," said Mnuchin. "This is about free and fair trade."

It was a stark contrast to the G7 finance ministers meeting in Whistler, Canada, that left Mnuchin largely isolated as a result of the Trump administration's decision to slap steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

Argentina's Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne said the final communique, which was agreed upon by finance ministers and central bankers, wasn't intended to deny trade disputes among members, but to help maintain consensus among members of a vital, multilateral organization.

"It is not a question of denying differences in certain fields," said Dujovne at a press conference. "There is always dialogue -- very rough and sincere dialogue. [But] there is a strong and clear vision to keep this group alive and functioning in harmony."

Unlike past summits, the secretary said it was the "easiest communique" to be agreed upon by G20 finance chiefs. "The trade language was accepted right away," he said.

At his first G20 meeting in Germany, Mnuchin clashed with his global peers on the communique by pushing to drop a disavowal of protectionism.

"I wouldn't say that we can argue that we made progress, but I think we can clearly say there is a sense we need to keep working to make progress," Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau told Bloomberg in an interview Saturday.

This weekend's finance ministers meeting comes days after President Donald Trump accused both Europe and China of manipulating their currencies to boost exports and threatened to impose up tariffs on up to $500 billion worth of Chinese products.

At the close of two days of talks, global policy makers emphasized the need "to step up dialogue and actions" between countries to minimize risks to global growth and improve confidence on trade.

"We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies," according to the final communique. It also noted "downside risks" posed to the global economy as a result of "heightened trade and geopolitical tensions."

International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde encouraged policy makers to address those risks in a "cooperative spirit" to minimize dampening global growth.

"I urged once more that trade conflicts be resolved via international cooperation without resort to exceptional measures," said Lagarde in a statement following the close of the meeting.

Mnuchin said the United States maintains a strong interest in reaching a free trade agreement with both the European Union and Japan, if certain conditions were met. Those efforts have been complicated by measures taken by the US to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and new threats on autos.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the EU would not consider launching trade talks with the US unless Trump first withdraws the steel and aluminum tariffs and stands down on a car tariff threat.

"We refuse to negotiate with a gun to our head," Le Maire told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting on Saturday.

Should the US impose further tariffs, "we won't have any other choice but to retaliate once again," he said.

Next week, Trump is hosting European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker at the White House to continue trade talks, including the possibility of averting import tariffs on European automakers.

"We're looking forward to trying to solve the trade issues with the EU, which has not just tariffs but not tariff barriers," said Mnuchin. "I do see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Huntsville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 57591

Reported Deaths: 710
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12842214
Davidson12549138
Rutherford332638
Hamilton308837
Sumner180256
Williamson159115
Trousdale15055
Knox14719
Out of TN125610
Wilson109917
Putnam9897
Bradley8894
Robertson88213
Sevier8633
Unassigned8372
Lake6970
Tipton6746
Montgomery6587
Bledsoe6251
Bedford5959
Macon5466
Hamblen4224
Maury4203
Hardeman3814
Fayette3463
Madison3402
Loudon3081
Rhea2940
Blount2803
Dyer2743
McMinn25718
Cheatham2522
Dickson2430
Washington2120
Lawrence2026
Cumberland1964
Anderson1782
Sullivan1782
Lauderdale1723
Gibson1581
Jefferson1571
Monroe1466
Smith1392
Coffee1340
Cocke1260
Greene1232
Hardin1207
Obion1182
Haywood1112
Warren1060
Franklin1043
Marshall1042
Wayne990
Hickman980
McNairy911
Marion904
Giles801
Lincoln800
White803
Hawkins792
Carter771
DeKalb760
Roane750
Weakley691
Overton681
Campbell651
Grundy652
Henderson620
Claiborne610
Unicoi560
Chester530
Carroll511
Polk510
Grainger500
Crockett483
Henry480
Cannon450
Johnson440
Sequatchie430
Jackson410
Humphreys382
Meigs350
Perry350
Morgan291
Decatur280
Stewart260
Fentress250
Scott220
Union200
Houston190
Clay180
Moore170
Benton151
Hancock100
Lewis100
Pickett70
Van Buren70

 

 

Community Events