G20 calls for stepped-up trade dialogue; no agreement on path forward

G20 calls for stepped-up trade dialogue; no agreement on path forward

G20 calls for stepped-up trade dialogue; no agreement on path forward

The EU finance ministers signed a joint text last week that will form their mandate for this weekend's meeting, criticizing " unilateral" US trade actions, Reuters reported.

Long-simmering trade tensions have burst into the open in recent months, with the United States and China - the world's largest and second-largest economies - slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other's goods so far.

They emphasized "the need to step up dialogue and actions to mitigate risks and enhance confidence".

The group of finance chiefs and central bankers from around the world published the communique at the end of a two-day summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin joined finance ministers from the world's leading economies in highlighting the risk from "heightened trade and geopolitical tensions" at a G20 meeting marred by the continued dispute over tariffs.

European Union finance chief Pierre Moscovici fired a barb at US President Donald Trump on Sunday (Jul 22) as he called on both sides of an ongoing global trade dispute to "act as allies".

However he added: "Any time they want to sit down and negotiate meaningful changes, I and our team are available".

Le Maire said there was no disagreement between France and Germany over how and when to start trade talks with the United States. Picture taken July 21, 2018. The tariffs applied to long-time USA allies, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU).

He said G7 allies were taking seriously his calls to eliminate tariffs, non-tariff barriers and subsidies among the group, and the Trump administration would pursue such ideas in trade talks next week with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington. Morneau cautioned however, that such a feat, while an "aspirational target", might be hard to pull off in real life.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told reporters that the meeting was not tense, but produced little movement from entrenched positions on trade.

Mr Trump has angered European allies by imposing import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, causing the European Union to retaliate with similar amounts of tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Kentucky bourbon and other products.

"We believe that targeting us is certainly inappropriate. and that we must act with the USA as allies - not foes but allies", added Moscovici.

The U.S. has also imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, including from Europe.

Protectionism, he said, benefits no one, creating "no winners, only casualties".

Calling on Trump to reconsider his ham-fisted trade policy towards the 28-member bloc, Moscovici argued that "targeting us [with sanctions] is certainly inappropriate... and that we must act with the U.S. as allies - not foes but allies".

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde had warned on Wednesday that the United States economy was "especially vulnerable" to trade conflicts "because so much of its global trade will be subject to retaliatory measures".

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