Date
16 October 2018
European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici speaks during a news conference at the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Photo: Reuters
European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici speaks during a news conference at the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

G20 calls for enhanced trade dialogue to mitigate global risks

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations on Sunday called for stepped-up dialogue to prevent trade and geopolitical tensions from hurting growth.

Following a two-day meeting in Buenos Aires, finance officials from the world’s largest economies warned that growth, while still strong, is becoming less synchronized and that downside risks over the short- and medium-term have increased, Reuters reports.

“These include rising financial vulnerabilities, heightened trade and geopolitical tensions, global imbalances, inequality and structurally weak growth, particularly in some advanced economies,” the G20 officials were quoted as saying in a communique.

“We … recognize the need to step up dialogue and actions to mitigate risks and enhance confidence,” they said.

This marked a strengthening of language compared to their previous statement issued in March, in which they simply “recognize the need for further dialogue.”

The weekend meeting, however, ended with little consensus on how to resolve multiple disputes over US tariff actions, Reuters said.

The talks in Buenos Aires came at a time of escalating rhetoric in the trade conflict between the US and China, the world’s largest economies, which have so far slapped tariffs on US$34 billion worth of each other’s goods.

US President Donald Trump raised the stakes on Friday with a threat to impose tariffs on all US$500 billion of Chinese exports to the US unless Beijing agrees to major structural changes to its technology transfer, industrial subsidy and joint venture policies.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a news conference on Sunday that he had had no substantive discussions on trade with China’s finance minister, Liu Kun, at the G20 gathering.

Mnuchin focused instead on other trade relationships at the talks, including those with the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

Before any trade talks with the EU could begin, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire insisted that Washington first would need to drop its tariffs on steel and aluminum and stand down on a threat to impose auto tariffs.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told reporters that the meeting was not tense, but produced little movement from entrenched positions on trade.

“We were in mutual listening mode and I hope that this is the beginning of something,” Moscovici said. “But still the positions are not similar.”

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe