G-20 Drops Anti-Protectionist Language in Communique

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Finance chiefs of the world's largest economies set aside a previous pledge to avoid protectionism and signed up to a fudged statement on trade instead, in response to the Trump administration's call for a rethink of the global order for commerce.

July meeting Seeking to put "America first", Mr Trump has already pulled out of a key trade agreement and proposed a new tax on imports, arguing that certain trade relationships need to be reworked to make them fairer for United States workers.

Host German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble however struck a conciliatory tone, noting that in the USA the matters of finance and trade were divided in two portfolios.

"So when you have a very important partner expressing different views one has to reassess one's situation very cautiously and diplomatically", added Scicluna, who attended the talks in Baden-Baden. The G20 summit with each country's government leader will be held in July in Hamburg, Germany.

The tough words "resist all forms of protectionism" part of last year's statement were omitted. "Having said that, we want to re-examine certain agreements". "I couldn't be happier with the outcome".

The meeting was a clear indication that the US had an upper hand when it came to formulating the policies of world trade.

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, taking part in his first worldwide meeting since being sworn in, sought to downplay the wording issue. G-20 finance ministers also excised a commitment to finance the fight against climate change from their statement.

"It'd be in the interest of Germany and Europe to establish a strong, bilateral relationship with the new Treasury secretary rather than questioning his authority", Lombardi said.

While delegates greeted Mnuchin and said that he had been engaged in the process, they said he didn't elaborate on how the USA considers itself to be treated unfairly. He said he favoured "free" trade but some agreements might need to be renegotiated.

In addition to the G20 GwA, the G20 Ministers and governors had gathered to discuss the global economic outlook; the framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth; worldwide financial architecture; financial sector development and regulation; worldwide tax; and other global governance topics.

Mnuchin's German counterpart, Wolfgang Schauble, sounded frustrated, saying the G-20 has "reached an impasse".