U.S., global financial leaders skirt trade frictions, tout collaboration

Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:10pm EDT
 
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By Francesco Canepa and Gernot Heller

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global economic leaders on Friday continued downplaying possible friction with the Trump administration over currencies, trade and other potentially contentious issues, even while acknowledging that much about the U.S. president's plans remains unclear.

On a day when Donald Trump himself seemed focused on domestic matters - promising a new U.S. tax plan next week and announcing reviews of financial regulations - world officials gathered just blocks from the White House said there was "broad consensus" with the new president's advisers over the need to keep economic borders open and coordinate on global financial regulation.

"Almost everybody underscored the importance of open markets and free market access," German central bank governor Jens Weidmann said following meetings among finance ministers from the world's top 20 economic powers, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "That was the consensus."

His remarks come as finance and economic officials attending meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank took heart in an improving world economy, but also spoke of the sudden raft of political issues that could put that progress at risk.

Trump's tough talk on trade and seeming suspicion of "globalist" groups like the IMF cast a shadow over the start of this week's session. Similarly, the French elections on Sunday have been frequently cited as the sort of event that could reverse the euro zone's tentative economic progress.

A WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH WASHINGTON

The Trump risk, at least for now, seems to have diminished.

Germany currently chairs the Group of 20, an organization that under the administration of President Barack Obama had become a central forum for working out economic issues among the world's largest economies.   Continued...

 
Federal Reserve Board Chairperson Janet Yellen (2nd, L) joins (L-R) African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs Anthony Mothae Maruping, Argentina's Central Bank Chairman Federico Sturzenegger and Argentina's Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne, posing with ministers and bank governors for a family photo during the IMF and World Bank's 2017 Annual Spring Meetings, in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017.      REUTERS/Mike Theiler