US Supports Fair Trade But Rejects Ban on Protectionism

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the meeting of finance ministers of the G20 countries was a success Saturday despite the ministers not reaching agreement on trade protectionism.

“I will leave here confident that my colleagues and I are able to work in partnership to …foster and promote global growth and financial stability,” he said.

Citing President Donald Trump’s commitment to American companies and workers, Mnuchin pushed back on and effectively omitted a ban on protectionism from the joint statement released at the end of the summit.

Mnuchin did, however, say that the United States still believed in free trade.

“We believe in free trade, we’re one of the largest markets in the world, we’re one of the largest trading partners in the world,” Mnuchin said. “Having said that, we want to re-examine certain agreements,” he continued, speaking specifically about NAFTA.

Other world powers present played down any disagreement between the countries.

“It’s not true we are not agreed. It’s completely clear we are not for protectionism,” Wolfgang Schaeuble, finance minister of host country Germany, told reporters, though he did, without mentioning a country by name, say that “maybe one or the other important member state needs to get a sense of how international cooperation works.”

The G20 is a informal forum on economic cooperation between 19 countries plus the European Union. Representatives from the 19 countries and the EU will meet for a formal summit in July.


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