New UK finance minister Hammond to face Brexit grilling at G20

Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:08am EDT
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* Brexit is new concern for global finance chiefs

* G20 partners to seek clarity on British plans

* New government still in process of forming strategy

By William Schomberg

LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - Britain's new finance minister Philip Hammond will this week face calls from anxious peers around the world to explain how his country can pull off a smooth exit from the European Union and minimise the damage to the fragile global economy.

A month after the Brexit shock hammered markets and added to the prospect of more stimulus from major central banks, Hammond will attend a July 23-24 meeting of finance chiefs from the Group of 20 leading economies in the Chinese city of Chengdu.

There, the former foreign minister is likely to come under pressure to provide clarity on Britain's strategy for leaving the EU and negotiating a new trade deal. The process is likely to take years and could put fresh strains on Europe's economy, which has barely recovered from the euro zone debt crisis.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew visited Britain twice last week, as the country changed prime ministers as well as finance ministers, to say a deal that tightly bound Britain and the EU was "in the best interests of Europe, of the United States and the global economy."

A Canadian finance ministry official said Brexit and its implications for public support for international trade would dominate the G20 gathering.   Continued...