Treasury's Mnuchin says Trump doesn't want trade wars

Treasury's Mnuchin says Trump doesn't want trade wars”

The gathering of finance ministers and central bank heads from the Group of 20 countries has focused on shifting attitudes toward trade, particularly after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to impose border taxes and rewrite free trade deals he says have shortchanged the U.S.

The meeting of the G20 finance chiefs represented the White House's first chance to spell out to the global financial leaders details of its fiscal and trade plans, with new Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin making his debut at a major world economic forum.

In a visit to Berlin ahead of the G-20 meeting, Mnuchin said the interested in trade that is not only free but fair. "It is not our desire to get into trade wars, it is our desire to deal with where there is imbalance in certain trade relations".

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"They should listen to the president first and listen to me as well", Mnuchin said when asked who is the US spokesman on the dollar.

The challenge for Mnuchin will be to square the Trump administration's threats of tariffs for trade cheaters and inward-looking economic policies with the cooperative spirit the G20 has operated under for years.

Attention at the two-day meeting in the German spa town of Baden-Baden has centered on a joint statement that is being prepared for Saturday.

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Given that Trump's "America First" agenda, trade issues could be set aside for G20 leaders to tackle at a summit in July, Schaeuble said.

The US Treasury chief declined to comment specifically on the euro's current value, but in a shift away from criticism by White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro that Germany has benefited unfairly from the euro's weakness, Mnuchin acknowledged that the euro is used by many countries and is affected by many factors. Even as Trump has vowed to end multi-national trade deals, it is a figure that could grow with the strong US dollar, boosting USA manufacturing costs and making it more hard to sell US products overseas. Ahead of the meeting, Germany, which holds the G20 presidency, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have warned that U.S. protectionist talk risks derailing the global economy.

"It was a good start", Schaeuble said of the meeting, adding that it was a positive sign for global cooperation and the G20 process.

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But European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said last week that it is the USA dollar that is overvalued, rather than that the euro is undervalued.

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