REUTERS – Brazil’s Finance Minister Eduardo Guardia said on Saturday (July 21) that G20 finance ministers agreed that growing trade tensions and the normalization of monetary policy in major economies represented rising risks to the global economy.
Speaking on the sidelines on a G20 meeting in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, Guardia said that finance ministers and central bankers had discussed the need to press ahead with reforms to protect their economies, especially in emerging market nations that have seen their currencies weaken significantly in recent months.
Trade tensions have reportedly dominated the agenda at the meeting in Buenos Aires. Earlier in the day, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the European Union could not consider negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States without Washington first withdrawing its tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned world economic leaders on Saturday that a recent wave of trade tariffs would significantly harm global growth, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened a major escalation in a dispute with China.
Long-simmering trade tensions have burst into the open in recent months, with the United States and China – the world’s No. 2 economy – slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other’s goods so far.
The weekend meeting in Buenos Aires comes amid a dramatic escalation in rhetoric on both sides. Trump on Friday threatened tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese exports to the United States.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will try to rally G7 allies over the weekend to join it in more aggressive action against China, but they may be reluctant to cooperate because of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union and Canada, which prompted retaliatory measures.