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G20 seeks right wording on trade, Germany's Schaeuble says
March 17, 2017 / 11:47 AM / 6 months ago

G20 seeks right wording on trade, Germany's Schaeuble says

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble talks to reporters during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BADEN BADEN, Germany (Reuters) - Finance leaders of the world’s top economies are still searching for a compromise on how to summarise their joint stance on global trade and open markets, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday.

Speaking at the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the German town of Baden-Baden, Schaeuble said there were still differing views on the subject among the delegations sent from around the world.

He added, however, that he was confident that the G20 countries would reach a deal on that in its final communique to be published on Saturday.

“I don’t know the exact wording but nobody has raised the issue of protectionism yet and I don’t believe that we have to deal with this a lot,” Schaeuble said.

“It’s about finding the right wording, it’s about how we phrase the openness of the world trade system in the final communique,” Schaeuble said, adding there were some “sensible positions” on the subject among some delegations.

The latest draft of the communique, for now, makes no reference to trade and protectionism issues, breaking with a decade-old tradition of G20 communiques which have, over the years, used various formulations to endorse free trade and reject protectionism.

Schaeuble also said G20 finance leaders were not overly concerned that hard-fought financial market regulation would be rolled back.

The new U.S. administration has argued that excessive bank regulation is saddling lending and holding back growth, raising the prospect that regulation would be rolled back and efforts to finalise a new global accord, called Basel III, would run aground.

European leaders have argued that new regulation is the pillar of stability and removing them would sow the seeds of a fresh crisis.

Asked about if he was worried that the United States might roll back financial market regulation, Schaeuble said: “This concern is not big.”

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Writing by Balazs Koranyi

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