May 13, 2017 / 11:46 AM / a year ago

Italy's Padoan says G7 did not discuss trade protectionism

BARI, Italy, May 13 (Reuters) - Ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven rich countries did not discuss the risk of trade protectionism, Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Saturday.

Padoan told reporters at the end of the meeting that “protectionism was not discussed either explicitly or impicitly”, in answer to a question about the scepticism of U.S. President Donald Trump towards multilateral free trade deals.

Padoan added that “fragmentation in the system does not help anyone.”

Separately, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said no one at the G7 meeting had flagged potential risks linked to the Italian political situation ahead of national elections scheduled to take place in 2018.

“No one flagged possible tensions due to what happens in our country,” Visco said, adding the meeting did not discuss the state of health of Italian banks, which are saddled with some 350 billion euros of soured loans.

Reporting By Gavin Jones and Silvia Aloisi

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