US, Japan ministers agree on harm of currency volatility

Mar 18, 2017, 01:19

Before the full meeting, which is set to begin Friday, Mnuchin and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble held bilateral talks and addressed the media afterward.

"I am convinced that for Europe as a whole - and I'm not sure this will be very beloved in Paris - it's in our own interest to have a strong financial centre in London", Schaeuble said in a keynote speech at the Institute of International Finance Conference in Frankfurt. It's unclear if Trump and his team, which has espoused fair trade more than free trade and has discussed a border tax on imports, would sign the document.

But when asked whether the Group of 20 finance ministers should explicitly reaffirm their past vow to resist protectionism, Mnuchin repeated his view that some US trade relationships need to be re-examined to make them fairer and more reciprocal.

Mnuchin and Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso are both in Germany to attend the Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors that opened Friday afternoon.

However, failure to reach a common position in Baden-Baden on a slew of issues that have been redefined by US President Donald Trump's America First stance could undermine the authority of the G20.

Mnuchin could face tough questions from his counterparts about Trump's withdrawal from the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that was championed by former USA president Barack Obama and his announced intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

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The Trump administration has regularly targeted China's yuan policy, accusing the country of keeping its exchange rate artificially low and driving a $350 billion (€326 billion) annual surplus with the US.

In a sign of cooler heads, Schauble called Mnuchin's comments a "very good message" and said he is looking forward to a productive summit with other G20 finance ministers.

"Sustainable growth and prosperity need global solutions".

European countries and others that depend on exports, such as China, were said to be pushing for a stronger statement in favor of trade with fewer tariffs and other barriers in a rule-based system.

The indictment was the first time USA authorities have criminally charged Russian spies for cyber offences including for computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud.

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