G-20 ministers call for open trade amid protectionism fear

G-20 ministers call for open trade amid protectionism fear

The world's financial leaders reaffirmed on Tuesday their commitment to fight protectionism and said there was need for "further dialogue and actions" on trade, just days before US steel and aluminum tariffs are to enter into force.

Spain's economy minister said that several countries attending the summit were critical of protectionist measures, while Argentina's treasury secretary said there is no vision that the world is nearing a trade war, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the tariffs were hardly an issue at the summit.

Mnuchin said he has had very direct conversations with his counterparts in China and that he looks forward to working with Liu He, China's newly-installed, Harvard-educated vice premier in charge of financial and industrial policy, on getting better access to the Chinese market. "It's unthinkable for such voices to not be reflected in tomorrow's G20 communique", he said.

The first meeting of finance ministers and presidents of Central Banks of the Group of 20 (G20), industrialized and emerging countries, was opened here to tackle key issues of the world's economy.

"International trade and economic openness have been vital to growth, job creation and development", he said in a statement on Sunday.

But he said there was still no consensus on whether to address global imbalances through a multilateral framework - an approach that had largely been a G20 consensus - or a bilateral one preferred by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Winter Storm Warning, advisories in place for several in counties
A wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet is expected before 8 p.m. on Tuesday , according to the National Weather Service . Tomorrow night: Winds diminish, although we should maintain a breeze from the northwest around 10-15 miles per hour .

Mr Trump is expected on Friday to announce new tariffs on up to US$60 billion (S$79 billion) worth of Chinese technology and consumer goods annually, to punish Beijing over its drive to acquire United States intellectual property, sources told Reuters.

Other subjects of the meeting were expected to include the potential for increasing private investment in infrastructure and the situation in Venezuela, whose economy is experiencing quadruple-digit inflation.

"Any country like the United States or Europe might have thought in the past of this region as part of its territory, and (they) are now surprised because it no longer is", she said.

They also confirmed the need to keep close tabs on financial market movements, which have been volatile since February as marked by global stock market plunges, participants said.

"The moves (in February) were too volatile and did not reflect economic fundamentals, a view Japan expressed at the G20 meeting", the official said, signaling hope that its view would be reflected in the communique.

At the same time, the Finance Minister of France and Japan have also pushed for crypto regulations. Finance Minister Taro Aso skipped the meeting due to Diet deliberations.

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