G20 finance officials pledge to protect global growth

Trade war escalation has wiped out more than $1.5tr in investments worldwide

"It's not coincidental in my mind that the currency has moved from approximately 6.30 [yuan to USA dollar] to 6.90", Mnuchin said on the sidelines of Saturday's meeting with G20 finance leaders. They added that despite the risks, global growth appeared to be stabilizing and was expected to pick up later this year and next year. -China trade tensions for downgraded economic outlooks this week. "If not, as the president said, we'll move on with tariffs", said the treasury secretary.

Mnuchin and Yi are among finance officials attending an annual meeting of the Group of 20 major economies ahead of a summit in Osaka later this month.

"Clearly there is a slowdown in Europe, there's a slowdown in China, there's a slowdown in other parts. But there's no conclusion yet" on the language of trade, the official told reporters.

Reuters news agency has reported G20 leaders have agreed to describe ballooning trade tensions as "intensified", citing three insiders.

But some analysts said the talks were less confrontational than they might have been. "Their markets have not been open to us", he said.

But there was an evident rift between most participants in the meeting and the US, which has shifted away from support for tackling issues in multilateral forums such as the World Trade Organization in favour of a country-by-country "America First" approach.

Meanwhile, Yi, in an interview with Bloomberg News on Friday, had said that the discussion of trade with Mnuchin would be "uncertain and hard", and he insisted that China could withstand a prolonged trade fight with the US.

"A worsening of the worldwide climate and a real trade war would lead to an even more marked slowdown in global growth, with a direct impact on our jobs, companies, factories and sectors", he said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he did not see any impact on US growth from the trade conflict, and that the government would take steps to protect consumers from higher tariffs. It would be the first high-level meeting since the negotiations stumbled. "We have plenty of other issues that we need to consider", he said.

"People talk about the economic risk of trade wars. people should be even more focused on the benefits of having a great trade agreement and how that creates economic opportunities in both economies, especially for a growing middle-class in China", he said. They did not refer directly to the tariffs war between the United States and China, though leaders participating in the meetings indicated it was the No. 1 concern.

The bickering over trade language has dashed hopes of Japan, which chairs this year's G20 meetings, to keep trade issues low on the list of agendas at the finance leaders' meeting.

There was no immediate word from the Chinese side about the meeting between Yi and Mnuchin.

The Trump administration is taking steps to impose 25 per cent tariffs on the remaining US$300 billion worth of Chinese imports so far untouched by the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

At the Buenos Aires meeting, the G20 leaders described global trade and investment as "important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development".

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