Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 major economies concluded a meeting in Japan with a pledge to do all they can to protect global growth.
The G20 finance leaders said in a joint statement that risks from trade and geopolitical tensions were “intensifying”.
“We reaffirm our commitment to use all policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, and safeguard against downside risks,” the leaders said. They added that despite the risks, global growth appeared to be stabilising and was expected to pick up later this year and next year.
The leaders spent the weekend haggling over issues ranging from taxes to debt and artificial intelligence as China and the US showed no sign of breaking their stalemate over trade and technology.
US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said he had a constructive meeting with China’s central bank governor Yi Gang on the sidelines of a financial leaders’ meeting in the southern city of Fukuoka.
Had constructive meeting with PBOC Governor Yi Gang, during which we had a candid discussion on trade issues. pic.twitter.com/xOHghqWkF9— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) June 9, 2019
In a Twitter post that showed the two clasping hands, he said they “had a candid discussion on trade issues”. He gave no details.
The closed-door talks in Fukuoka, and parallel talks on trade and “digital economy” issues in Tsukuba, north of Tokyo, took place as the world’s two largest economies remained mired in a tariffs war over trade and technology. Talks stalled after 11 rounds of negotiations and both sides are threatening further action, adding to uncertainty and unnerving financial markets.
Mr Mnuchin earlier urged China to rejoin the talks. So far, there has been no word of further negotiations, and he said any major progress in resolving the impasse would likely come at a meeting of presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in late June in Osaka.
Mr Trump has yet to decide, he said, on whether to impose more 25% tariffs on 300 billion dollars worth of Chinese exports.
After the Trump administration raised tariffs to up to 25% on 250 billion dollars of imports from China and blacklisted telecommunications giant Huawei, China raised tariffs on rare earth exports to the US and threatened to halt exports altogether.
Last week, China’s Commerce Ministry said it will soon release a list of “unreliable” foreign companies in a move seen as a response to the US decision to penalise Huawei for alleged theft of intellectual property and evasion of Iran sanctions.
Japan, the world’s third largest economy, is hosting the G20 for the first time since it was founded in 1999.
Reports said officials had reached agreement on the need to revamp tax systems, better regulate new areas such as artificial intelligence, reform the rules-making World Trade Organisation and ensure transparency about the levels of debt incurred by developing countries.
The venue for the annual financial meeting, Fukuoka, is a thriving regional hub and base for startups.
The G20 group includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
- Press Association