* Aso, Mnuchin hold 1st face-to-face meeting
* Talks did not touch on recent FX moves - Aso
* Agreed to leave FX talks to finance leaders - Aso
* Aso calls for need to resist protectionism
(Adds quotes, detail)
By Leika Kihara
BADEN-BADEN, Germany, March 17 Japanese Finance
Minister Taro Aso said he agreed with his U.S. counterpart
Steven Mnuchin on the need to abide by the G7 and G20 agreements
on currency policy, including a warning that excess currency
volatility is undesirable.
U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Japan of exploiting
a weak yen to give exports an unfair trade advantage, leaving
Japanese policy-makers worried that Washington may upend a G20
agreement that gives Tokyo room to intervene in the currency
market to stem any unwelcome yen spike.
"We agreed that it was important to maintain the G7 and G20
agreements on currency policy," Aso told reporters after meeting
with Mnuchin on Friday on the sidelines of a Group of 20 finance
leaders' weekend gathering.
The G20 economies have long agreed on three points on
currency policy -- to refrain from competitive devaluations,
avoid targeting exchange rates for competitive purposes and that
"excess volatility and disorderly movements" in currency rates
In their first face-to-face meeting, Aso said he agreed with
Mnuchin on the need to respect all three of that points. They
did not discuss recent currency moves or monetary policy, he
The U.S. Treasury Department issued a statement after the
meeting only to say Aso and Mnuchin discussed "latest
developments in the U.S. and Japanese economies".
The two also re-confirmed that currency issues should be
left for respective finance leaders to discuss, instead of at a
bilaterial economic dialogue kicking off next month, Aso said.
Japanese premier Shinzo Abe has said he agreed with Trump to
allow their finance leaders to debate currency issues,
suggesting Washington may soften criticism Japan was
manipulating the yen to gain a trade advantage.
Aso said he also told Mnuchin it was important to resist
protectionism as free trade has brought enormous economic
benefits to many countries.
"I didn't get any push back (from Mnuchin)," Aso said.
The G20 financial leaders will renounce competitive
devaluations and warn against exchange rate volatility, but have
not yet found a common stance on trade and protectionism, a
draft statement of their meeting showed on Friday.
They may struggle to present a united front on protectionism
after Trump's administration began considering imposing a border
tax that would make imports more expensive.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said while there was a shared
consensus in the global community of the need to promote free
trade, it was uncertain how the G20 debate could unfold.
"The U.S. administration has yet to lay out clear policies
on trade, so it's inappropriate to speak about their approach
with any preconception," Kuroda told reporters upon arrival for
the G20 meeting.
(Reporting By Leika Kihara, editing by Jan Strupczewski/Jeremy