US unafraid of trade war after G20 meet

US unafraid of trade war after G20 meet

"International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development", the meeting, which brought together finance ministers and central bankers from 19 countries and the European Union, said in a joint statement.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned that trade protectionism is a "key risk", saying safeguarding the rules-based global trading system is essential to protecting growth prospects that could be harmed by a retreat from open markets.

But trade dominated the discussions after United States President Donald Trump on March 8 announced global tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.

The planned US tariff hikes focus attention on whether G-20 finance chiefs can commit to defending global free trade as pledged at the group's summit a year ago.

"But the environment we're in now, where the expectation is America totally subordinates its national interests in order for the free trade system to work, is just one we don't accept".

The final statement noted that the global economic outlook has improved, but warned about market volatility and "heightened economic and geopolitical tensions".

"We need to be prepared to act in the United States interest again, to defend free and fair, reciprocical trade", he added.

US unafraid of trade war after G20 meet

Reflecting mounting concerns about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they said they "look forward to" the review of the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body on countering money laundering and terrorist financing. But the European Union wants to be exempted, too.

"There is a solid understanding among the global community that free trade is important", Mr Haruhiko Kuroda, Japan's central bank governor, told reporters.

Minoru Kihara, Japan's vice finance minister, welcomed the statement, saying at a news conference, "We reached a shared recognition that protectionism will not benefit any country".

The G-20 leaders jointly announced at their meeting in July in Germany that they would "continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices" while recognizing the role of "legitimate trade defense instruments".

"We are convinced that free trade is the best solution to guarantee the well-being of our peoples".

Countries including Germany, France, Argentina and Brazil had expressed concern over USA protectionism at the meeting.

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