June 8, 2018 / 2:34 PM / a year ago

Italy's new PM says to take 'moderate' line on tariffs at G7

Newly appointed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during his first session at the Senate in Rome, Italy, June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

LA MALBAIE, Quebec (Reuters) - New Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Friday he would try to promote “moderate” positions on trade tariffs at a Group of Seven summit where the contentious issue looks set to dominate talks among leaders.

“Regarding the trade tariffs, there are very conflictual positions out there,” Conte told reporters ahead of the summit.

“Certainly .. we will promote a moderate position. We will try to understand the reasoning that have pushed people to take the positions they have and we will act accordingly.”

The confrontation over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports threatened to rupture the G7, which during its 42-year history has traditionally sought to find consensus on the economy and other issues.

In other remarks, Conte said it was important that trade sanctions against Russia do not hurt the country’s ordinary people, and said Italy was “totally dissatisfied” with the way immigration from Africa was being handled in the European Union.

The Italian government, backed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League, has already signaled it is likely to adopt a pro-Russian line in its foreign policy and has called for an end to economic sanctions on Moscow.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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