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US, Japan ministers agree on harm of currency volatility

US, Japan ministers agree on harm of currency volatility

In a meeting with his German counterpart, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought allay fears among European allies, promising the Trump administration is not looking to start "trade wars".

China's premier Li Keqiang, representing the world's second biggest economy after the US, said this week that Beijing does not want a trade war and would not devalue its currency.

Schaeuble told Reuters in an interview that it was unclear whether the anti-protectionism language would remain in the G20 statement to be issued at the meeting's close on Saturday.

Early drafts have dropped an earlier ban on protectionism, but there was no agreement on what would replace it, said officials who briefed reporters Friday on condition of anonymity because the talks were ongoing.

"It is not our desire to enter into trade wars", he said after talks with Germany's powerful finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble.




The last such gathering, in July 2016 in Chengdu, China, issued a strong statement in favor of free trade, saying "we will resist all forms of protectionism". The U.S. had requested the changes, and asked that a reference to "fair" global trade to be included. He also said that for trade, he views the European Union as both a single bloc as well as individual countries.

The gathering will help set the tone for worldwide commerce and finance and will give Mnuchin a chance to clarify what the US position is.

Another top priority for Mnuchin at the summit will be addressing currency valuations among the world's 20 top economies. That could be just wording - or it could be the signal of a new era in the global economy in response to Trump's focus on bilateral trade deals and the America First stance. But, the Trump administration is taking a protectionist stance saying it is part of an effort to save United States jobs.

"Our objective is getting more balanced trade agreements", he said, confirming that having border taxes is an option. The move underscores Germany's desire to rebuff any explicit U.S. demands to water down the group's commitment to free trade, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares for her first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on March 17.

Mnuchin is scheduled to meet one-to-one with China's Finance Minister Xiao Jie and central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan. "The president does believe in free trade but he wants free and fair trade".

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