Mnuchin Says U.S. Reserves Right To Be Protectionist

Trade had been left off the official agenda, the Financial Times reported, to avoid the controversial issue of protectionism, which has led to diplomatic friction between the members and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

That divergence augurs for potential disagreements when the nations' leaders gather in Sicily later this month - an event which marks Trump's first major global summit as U.S. President.

Mnuchin said his meetings with finance leaders had led to better understanding of the US president's position that trade must be fair and balanced as well as open. Still, he and Mnuchin stressed how important the U.S.

The secretary arrived in Bari saying he was "excited" about US trade policies after the announcement of a deal to boost exports of gas and beef to China, an agreement that was also noted by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Greece's creditors, including the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will be in Bari.

G7 finance ministers and central bank governors gather around a table inside the Norman-Swabian Castle, the venue of their summit in Bari, Italy.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

BARI, Italy Group of Seven financial chiefs said they had no idea who was behind the worldwide cyber attack that affected nearly 100 countries on Friday but they pledged to redouble their efforts to make cyberspace more secure. -Canada trade relationship is to both economies.

Mnuchin is taking the opportunity to lay out the Trump administration's views on trade.

The Italian G7 presidency has listed security as a "global public good" - including issues related to anti-terrorism financing, remittances and cyber security - and one of its four finance priorities.

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said continued uncertainty about US policy could dampen optimism within the G-7 about the global economy's gradual recovery from the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago.

According to The AP, "one partner openly pushing back was Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who rejected as "baseless" duties the USA imposed on some Canadian lumber imports".

They also called for a renewed common effort against cybercrime.

"We are agreed on many things ... including on the fight against cyber crime which is unfortunately very timely", Padoan said on his arrival for Sunday's closing session.

Meanwhile, the Group of 7 (G7) countries - consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - said they were not going to be caught flatfooted again.

A Group of Seven communique issued on Saturday said officials were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies" - a weaker pledge than the statement from the Group of 20 leaders a year ago to avoid protectionism in all its forms.

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