International Monetary Fund communiqué: Trade, debt seen as threats to global growth

23 April, 2018, 22:00 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Trade disputes, debt burden threaten global growth: IMF

In his statement to the International Monetary Fund, Yi also warned that "an escalation of trade frictions caused by unilateral actions" posed a risk to the global economic outlook and called on countries to use "rules-based" multilateral organizations to resolve differences.

The IMF, he said, should continue to strengthen its capacity for multilateral surveillance to identify evolving global vulnerabilities.

In a session with reporters, Mnuchin refused to say how close the United States was to resolving the various trade disputes but did indicate progress was being made in the talks. "We call on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group to work together on a multi-pronged work programme to enhance debt transparency and sustainability and address LICs debt vulnerabilities", the statement said. In addition to wrangling over trade, finance officials from the Group of 20 powerful economies focused on two other threats to growth - geopolitical risks and rising interest rates.

She praised the trade reforms recently offered by China's President Xi Jinping - including lower tariffs on United States cars, reducing investment restrictions and protections for intellectual property - which she said were "going in right direction".

"I think that if we can help facilitate a dialogue, productive exchanges going to solutions, it would avoid a trade war", she said.

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US President Donald Trump last month approved steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, while Beijing has slapped duties on key US agricultural exports and threatened to do likewise for the sensitive US soya bean sector.

Europe was also hit by the steel and aluminum tariffs but the U.S. suspended the duties on imports from the EU, Canada, Mexico and four other countries, leaving China as the primary target.

The heated trade rhetoric comes at a delicate moment, as Washington and Beijing are seeking to address North Korea's nuclear program - which Pyongyang said Saturday it would largely scale back.

Unfair trade policies "impede stronger U.S. and global growth, acting as a persistent drag on the global economy", Mnuchin said.

"The president has been very clear on what our objectives are", Mnuchin said.

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An unnamed spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal that his country "welcomes this" news of Mnuchin's possible trip.

The International Monetary Fund, holding its spring meetings in Washington, has stuck to its January forecasts for global growth of 3.9% this year and next, in line with the average for the 2000s and thus similar to pre-crisis norms. Next it proposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products to sanction Beijing for its aggressive efforts to obtain US technology.

Heightened growth is helping to spur increased business investment, create much-needed private sector jobs, and expand economic opportunities for many around the world, he said.

"I hope it is a negotiating strategy".

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