March 14, 2017 / 5:19 PM / 4 months ago

U.S. trade, tax stance unclear ahead of G20 meeting -Canadian official

2 Min Read

OTTAWA (Reuters) - There is a lot of uncertainty over what direction the United States wants to take on issues such as trade and taxation policy ahead of the upcoming meeting of G20 finance ministers, a senior Canadian finance ministry official said on Tuesday.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, along with other finance ministers and central bank heads from the Group of 20 major economies, will meet in Baden-Baden, Germany, on March 17-18 to discuss the world economy.

It will be the first meeting of G20 finance ministers since President Donald Trump, who has criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals, took office.

The Canadian official told journalists in a briefing that the meeting provides an important opportunity for ministers to find out more about the positions of U.S. officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The official acknowledged that the Trump administration's concerns over trade and currency policy are likely to be discussed, along with taxation. He added it would be premature to speculate on how those discussions would proceed.

A senior U.S. Treasury official said on Monday that Mnuchin will be "pushing hard" to advance U.S. interests at the meeting.

A draft of the G20 communique seen by Reuters showed ministers may no longer explicitly reject protectionism or competitive currency devaluations.

The Canadian official declined to comment on the content of the communique and said the draft was not yet final.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao

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