Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

G7 finance chiefs talk cyber security in wake of attacks

G7 finance chiefs talk cyber security in wake of attacks

BARI, Italy (AP) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that major trading partners are "much more comfortable" with the Trump administration's stance on trade and tax policy and understand that they will benefit from the intended U.S. growth.

The G7 meeting, gathering financial leaders from the world's seven developed economies, run from May 11 to May 13 in the southern Italian city of Bari. However, the U.S. Treasury spokesman said the issue was likely to come up in bilateral talks.

Leaving controversial talks on trade until a G-7 leaders' summit scheduled for later this month, officials instead pushed U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for details on President Donald Trump's tax package, unveiled late last month.

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"The emphasis was initially on a border tax, which is taxation, but also trade policy", said Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan in an interview. "'All the six others. said explicitly, and sometimes very directly, to the representatives of the USA administration that it is absolutely necessary to continue with the same spirit of global cooperation, ' French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters".

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The draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, also said the G7 financial leaders would strengthen cooperation to counter cyber threats such as a global online attack which infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

In the final communique, the ministers and governors only mentioned that they were "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies".

Finally, the G7 meeting did not address trade and the risks of protectionism, officials said.

A slew of recent announcements-including an investigation into steel imports and a warning the USA may pull out of a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico-have renewed fears the Trump administration could spark a trade war that could hit the global economy just as it appears to be gaining momentum.

When asked if G7 ministers were concerned about the potential for U.S. tax reform to cause the income gap to widen, Secretary Mnuchin said, "Reductions in the highest tax rates will be offset by reductions in deductions".

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The senior Japanese official said pro-EU Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential election was injecting optimism into G-7 discussions on the world economy and financial markets.

"While many potential policy responses are largely domestic, some of them require, by definition, a collective effort", it stressed.

The G-7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United States and U.K., with representatives of the European Union also attending.

The Italian hosts say the meeting themes will include making economic growth benefit more people; coordination among worldwide financial organizations such as the global Monetary Fund and the World Bank; and efforts to stop companies from dodging taxes by moving income across borders.

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