Mnuchin expresses optimism trade standoffs can be resolved

United States representatives took a strong line at the International Monetary Fund spring meetings over the weekend, the Financial Times reports, insisting that large surpluses in countries like China and Germany be scaled back.

On Sunday, China's commerce ministry said it would welcome us officials to discuss trade and economic issues.

And although optimistic about economic growth over the next couple of years, the International Monetary Fund warns that aging populations, lacklustre productivity, rising debt and the possibility of a global trade war could lead to a downturn.

The discussions focused on issues related to the Chinese central bank, not trade, said the secretary.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank repeatedly warned at their meetings this week that intensifying trade tensions could jeopardize a healthy global economic expansion. The row, which comes as the world economy records its strongest growth in years, cast a pall over the gathering of the world's finance officials.

On Saturday, the World Bank approved a $13 billion capital increase package that includes $7.5 billion of paid-in capital for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the group's primary lending arm, and $5.5 billion for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the group's private sector lending arm.

"We strongly reject moves toward protectionism and away from the rules-based global trade order", said Mr Gumundsson, governor of the Central Bank of Iceland.

The IMFC Chairman and Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago, said at a press conference that the members shared the view that trade is significant for global economic recovery.

Under such circumstances, Tu said, Mnuchin's possible visit to Beijing can be seen as a gesture, whether successful or not, the Trump administration has to take action to prevent rising prices of consumer goods and revenue losses by a large number of USA companies dependent on trade with China. One of the concerns about a trade war is it wouldn't just involve the USA and China, but it would inevitably drag in other countries as well and they'd be caught up in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

'China will vigorously push forward the reform and opening-up of the financial sector, significantly relax market access restrictions, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen the protection of intellectual properties and actively expand imports, ' Yi said. He said they also discussed China's planned further opening of some markets, a move that USA has encouraged and "appreciated".

Mnuchin held a string of meetings over the past three days with financial officials from China, Japan and Europe over the punitive tariffs the administration has unveiled in an effort to fulfill President Donald Trump's campaign promise to reduce America's huge trade deficits.

"We have to keep this group working together", said Nicolas Dujovne, Argentina's treasury minister.


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