ROME Trade will not be on the agenda of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven rich nations in Italy this week, officials from the Italian Treasury said on Monday.
The officials said at a briefing ahead of the May 11-13 meeting in the southern city of Bari that trade would instead be discussed by G7 leaders at a meeting in Taormina, Sicily at the end of this month.
The decision to leave it off the agenda in Bari follows a meeting of the larger Group of 20 financial leaders in Baden Baden, Germany, in March, when ministers dropped their traditional pledge to keep global free trade open, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States.
The Bari G7 will focus on issues including international taxation, cyber security, better coordination of global financial institutions and ways to fight inequality, said the officials, who asked not to be named or quoted directly.
There will also be a broad discussion of the state of the global economy and a formal joint statement will be issued at the end of the meeting, they said.
The statement will make reference to exchange rates and there has already been an agreement to maintain the language used by the G20 in Baden Baden, they said.
That G20 statement read as follows:
"We reiterate that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. We will consult closely on exchange markets. We reaffirm our previous exchange rate commitments, including that we will refrain from competitive devaluations and we will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes."
(Reporting by Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte)