G-20 Drops Anti-Protectionist Pledge as Trump Stance Goes Global

US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin moves to ease trade fears

Attention has centered on a joint statement - a kind of mission statement for the global economy - that is being prepared for release today.

European delegations have also explicitly rejected protectionism.

After a two-day meeting, ministers from G20 developed and emerging nations said they were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies" but failed to spell out a pledge to reject protectionism in a closing statement.

At Baden Baden, the world's biggest economies have also pledged to "jointly fight" cyber-attacks on the global banking system, one of the biggest co-ordinated efforts yet to protect lenders since an $81mn heist of the Bangladesh central bank's account past year.

Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, downplayed differences over the language.

"We have talked a lot about the trade policy and agreed on provisions on trade policy..." The organization is one of several global groups invited to participate in the meeting.

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That stance has grated Washington's partners, who are trying to persuade US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to renew a long-standing G20 anti-protectionism commitment and uphold an worldwide deal on climate won only after years of painful negotiations.

"Our heads of states are meeting in a few weeks". The WTO operates a system of negotiated trade rules and serves as a forum for resolving disputes.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G-20 group of leading economies, including the U.S., China, Mexico, Germany and India, held two days of tough talking in the German town of Baden-Baden. Without mentioning a country by name, he said, "Maybe one or the other important member state needs to get a sense of how worldwide cooperation works". "Free trade has led to a lot of bad things happening". This more casual meeting of finance ministers will be followed by a formal gathering of national leaders in Hamburg, Germany, in July.

Trump has repeatedly emphasized that the US needs a tougher approach to trade that would put American workers and companies first. This included executive orders withdrawing the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and ordering a review of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). World leaders redoubled their commitment to free trade in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008 as they sought to prevent recession turning into a global depression. According to reports, officials were looking to replace the group's long standing opposition to "all forms" of protectionism with a new wording that would reflect USA concerns and reference "fair" trade. He said that the statement needed to reflect the discussion at the current summit.

In addition, the ministers will consider the state of the global economy as well as measures for ensuring sustainable growth.

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