Not worth the trade-off? G20 wavers in its stance against protectionism

Posted March 27, 2017

The G20 finance ministers met in Baden-Baden recently and issued their usual joint communique.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday he felt that Group of 20 countries shared a common understanding that free trade is important.

The outcome marked a win for Trump, whose "America First" agenda and anti-globalisation rhetoric has spooked allies.

"At some meetings you can not reach all that you want to achieve".

"There was agreement to finalise the Basel III framework without further increasing the capital requirements across the banking sector", Treasury commented, adding that the G20 members requested a progress report and the 2017 work plan under the FSB-coordinated action plan to assess and address the decline in correspondent banking.

"We remain committed to a timely, consistent and widespread implementation of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package, welcome the growing membership of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS and encourage all relevant and interested countries and jurisdictions to join", the statement said.

"This is my first G20, so what was in the past communiqué is not necessarily relevant from my standpoint", U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the German resort town of Baden Baden.

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G20 finance ministers also removed from their statement a pledge to finance the fight against climate change. "Having said that, we want to re-examine certain agreements".

"I understand what the president's (Trump) desire is and his policies, and I negotiated them from here", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said after the meeting.

"Markets are now anxious about the uncertain policies of some developed economies, and are concerned that the rise of protectionism could adversely affect the (global) economic recovery", Xiao said, according to a post on the Chinese central bank's website late on Monday.

"I think Mnuchin is an articulate, constructive and pragmatic man", Moscovici said.

The U.S. has historically pursued multilateral trade negotiations, which experts say there's good reason for - they can help cement ties with allies and friends.

The G20 economies that include the United States, China, Germany, the European Union, India and others, have gained from free trade. The finance ministers' meeting will pave the way for a summit of national leaders in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8.