(Yicai Global) March 20 -- The Group of Twenty (G20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting concluded in Baden, Germany last weekend. the decade-long tradition of stating endorsing free trade while opposing protectionism in the G20 finance ministers' meeting communique has been broken by using the term 'fair trade' this year. Xiao Jie, China's finance minister, called on G20 member states to boost global trade and investment, firmly oppose protectionism, and safeguard the effectiveness of the multilateral system.
This is the first meeting of the finance ministers and central bank governors hosted under Germany's G20 presidency. During the meeting, each member state joined in in-depth discussions about the global economy, framework for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, promotion of investment in Africa, international financial architecture, international taxation, development and regulation of the financial sector, and other global governance topics.
During his first attendance at the meeting as new US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin shied from the topic of anti-protectionism, "This is my first G20, so what was in the past communique is not necessarily relevant from my standpoint," he said. He also noted that, attending the meeting on behalf of US president Donald Trump, he fully understood and supported the president's trade policies, and stated that the US did not mean to oppose trade, but called for further re-examination of some trade agreements. Mnuchin believes the US faces an unequal environment in international trade, and calls for the establishment of a fair-trade system, a view at variance with those of finance ministers from other participating countries.
Attending the meeting on March 18, China's finance minister Xiao Jie said in an interview that China, as a former presidency of G20, has played a constructive role in the discussions. China believes that, in the context of the new situation and new challenges facing the global economy, G20 as a significant international economic cooperation platform must play a greater part in advancing closer cooperation between each party.
He stressed that G20 member states should promote global trade and investment and firmly oppose protectionism.