Sunday, 19 August, 2018

WASHINGTON | US defends tough trade stance at global finance meeting

Trade disputes, debt burden threaten global growth: IMF Mnuchin considers traveling to China amid trade spat
Gerardo Duncan | 23 April, 2018, 21:58

India's role in the development of the Indo-Pacific region will continue to expand because of its robust growth, the International Monetary Fund has said but underlined that there is room to increase its export orientation and to reduce further barriers.

He called for the realignment of quota shares of emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) whose under-representation has increased further by 0.5 percentage points in the last update leading to underrepresentation of EMDEs by 7.5 per cent. China counterpunched by targeting $50 billion in USA exports.

Because the world is so interconnected, the supply chains involve so many countries that it would affect the global economy, the International Monetary Fund has said.

"Increasingly we find examples where by LICs [low-income states] have borrowed excessively, also unsustainably, out of huge, often non-transparent rising sovereign creditors like China and/or confidential creditors", the announcement claimed.

Mnuchin also declined to say what he wants from a trade deal with China, adding, "If we have a deal, you'll know what it looks like when we have it".

It was a surprising omission for the group that was key to shepherding the global economy through the 2008 financial crisis and preventing another depression.

Rising financial vulnerabilities, increasing trade and geopolitical tensions, and historically high global debt threaten global growth prospects, it said.

"The window of opportunity remains open and should be used expeditiously to advance policies and reforms that sustain the current upswing, enhance resilience, and raise medium-term growth for the benefit of all", it said.

"The discussions were really more around the governor's actions at the PBOC (People's Bank of China) and certain actions they've announced in terms of opening some of their markets, which we very much encourage and appreciate", Mnuchin told reporters on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington on Saturday.

The IMFC said it will continue to use all policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced, inclusive, and job-rich growth.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz met with US Vice President Mike Pence and Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow at the White House, and afterwards told reporters that "all sides are really working on finding a good solution".

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.

China has threatened retaliation against US exports if Washington pushes ahead with the tariffs. Next it proposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products to sanction Beijing for its aggressive efforts to obtain US technology.

The heated trade rhetoric comes at a delicate moment, as Washington and Beijing are both seeking to address North Korea's nuclear program - which Pyongyang said Saturday it would largely scale back. Moscow is seeking "clarification" on U.S. sanctions, Mnuchin said, without elaborating.

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