Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

G-7 countries call for renewed common effort against cybercrime

On the first day of the two-day G-7 meeting in Bari, southern Italy, many participants also noted the importance of free trade, according to the sources.

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, is flanked by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, following their bilateral talks, at the G7 of Ministers of finance, in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017.

"After every chat with Padoan, I'm a little bit less worried" about Italy's banks, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters in Bari.

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde arrives for the opening session of the G7 of Finance ministers in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017.

Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda attended the meeting.

While trade was not specifically on the agenda, its presence loomed large as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came under pressure to engage on the matter.

The finance meeting paves the way for a meeting of national leader in Sicily May 26-26.

Aso did not clarify whether he was concerned about USA policies.

One partner openly pushing back was Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who rejected as "baseless" duties the USA imposed on some Canadian lumber imports.

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European officials complained that the US meaning of "fair trade" remained unclear and that the only way to establish fairness was to abide by the multilateral framework developed by the World Trade Organization.

A slew of recent announcements-including an investigation into steel imports and a warning the US 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. A Canadian ministry statement called it a "productive discussion" and that Canada committed to working out a durable solution.

Trump has proposed slashing the US corporate income tax rate and offer multinational businesses a steep tax break on overseas profits brought back to the U.S. "I am quite confident that the development will continue, that the US administration will engage more strongly in this process".

Mnuchin said "this is a big priority for the president". But he offered little detail.

The United States believes the world's other rich economies are getting used to the policy plans of President Donald Trump, but Europe and Japan remain anxious about Washington's shift.

BARI, Italy (AP) - Finance officials from seven rich countries warned that long term growth could remain subdued and that steps need to be taken to make the global economy work for everyone.

They also called for a renewed common effort against cybercrime, a timely message in the wake of Friday's ransom ware attacks in dozens of countries.

G-7 governments-Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US -have struggled to turn their concern for inclusive growth into policy action, however.

The group's agreements aren't legally binding; instead, they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.

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