G20 finance chiefs: trade row 'intensified' but no call for resolution

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde speaks at a G20 high-level seminar on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Fukuoka

Over 700 Journalists Arrive in Japan for G20 Finance Chiefs Meeting AFP 2019 Kiyoshi Ota

However, as Reuters reported, a text has more or less been finalized, reportedly reading in part: "Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified".

Mnuchin is scheduled to meet with China's top central banker, Yi Gang, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance ministers' summit in Japan this weekend, giving him a chance to break an impasse after talks broke down last month.

Trump has also complained repeatedly about America's huge trade deficit with China - a record US$379 billion a year ago - which he blames on weak and naive negotiating by previous U.S. administrations.

"Global growth appears to be stabilizing, and is generally projected to pick up moderately later this year and into 2020", the G20 finance leaders said in the communique.

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As a compromise pushed by Washington, the statement omitted language from a previous draft that mentioned a "pressing need to resolve trade tensions". "We will continue to address these risks, and stand ready to take further action", the communique said.

China's central bank governor, Yi Gang, said in a Bloomberg interview his meeting with Mnuchin will be a "productive talk, as always", though the topic of the trade war would be "uncertain and hard".

"If we can't have that, the end result will be that my expectation is that many companies will move their production out of China to other locations", due to tariffs, Mnuchin said.

They're likely to end up focusing a large share of their attention on how to keep global growth on track when the world's two biggest economies are entrenched in an escalating trade war.

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Late last month, U.S. President Donald Trump hinted that the U.S. might use Huawei as a bargaining chip to get favorable terms from China in any trade agreement between the two countries.

The planned meeting was said by Mnuchin to have parallels with the two presidents' Buenos Aires meeting on December 1, when Trump was poised to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The G-20 communique supported a push by Japan's finance minister Taro Aso for a policy response to aging populations, spanning fiscal and monetary policy to measures on boosting labor force participation. The U.S. has long considered Huawei to be a national security threat because of the possibility that the communist Chinese government will demand that Huawei spy on its behalf; this is allowed under Chinese law and has led U.S. lawmakers to fear that Huawei products contain a backdoor that will send secrets to Beijing.

Washington has imposed and then toughened import tariffs on Chinese goods in a bid to reduce the United States' trade deficit and combat what it calls unfair trade practices. "If not, we'll go forward with our plan" to impose more tariffs. "If they don't, we'll proceed with our tariffs", Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday. He said the only reason Mexican officials agreed to changes was because he threatened their goods with tariffs. The unemployment rate is the lowest since 1969 and so far inflation data shows that consumers haven't felt pressure from rising prices.

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