G7 finance chiefs in Italy try to gauge Trump's policy plans

Courtesy:Dan Hillsdon FOX Business

Courtesy:Dan Hillsdon FOX Business

The US refused to abandon its protectionist stance as the G7 - composed of the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada - continued to wrangle over a common trade policy. During his presidential campaign, Trump charged that past administrations had failed to take a tough stand on enforcing trade agreements and this failure had cost millions of good-paying factory jobs and resulted in an enormous USA trade deficit.

Kristian Rouz - A Group of Seven (G7) meeting revealed the deepening divide between the attitudes of the increasingly protectionist United States and the rest of the world's largest economies, which are attempting to uphold the free trade approach to the global exchange in goods and services.

The closing statement from Bari will reiterate a warning against competitive devaluations, Italian officials said, as March's G20 did, allaying fears that the new US administration might weaken the G20's united front on global currency policy.GREEKS FOR BREAKFAST The G7 will kick off on Friday with an early morning discussion of Greece's debt ahead of a May 22 meeting of euro zone finance ministers on the disbursement of new loans, French officials said.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the world's seven biggest economic powers have kept their watered-down promise to promote free trade, as the new United States administration's reluctance to commit to a full-throated defence against protectionism remained firm.

Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters that the discussions, which had been scheduled before Friday's attacks, were "unfortunately very timely".

Steps taken by President Trump on trade and regulation since taking office have left foreign counterparts jittery.

Coming after a global cyber attack infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

The G7 meetings in Italy was also overshadowed by the inability of the members to adopt a united stance on issues such as imposing sanctions on Russian Federation and how to deal with a UN-backed deal on climate change, which the new USA administration views with skepticism.

Subsequently, many global trade issues were put off the table during the Bari meeting, and the G7 discussed economic growth, cyberattacks, fiscal policies, and financial regulation (or deregulation, the case with the US).

On currency, the G7 finance leaders also underscored their commitment to ensure orderly movements in exchange rates and refrain from competitive devaluations.

Canadian Finance Minister William Morneau, right, talks with President of the German Central Bank Jens Weidmann as they exit the Castle of Bari, venue of the G7 of Ministers of finance, in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May.

Despite Mnuchin's remarks, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso expressed hope that the G-7 leaders, including Trump, will narrow the group's gap on trade when they gather in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26 to 27.

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

Other issues discussed included debt relief for Greece. Still, he and Mnuchin stressed how important the U.S.

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