Finance leaders downplay differences with Trump over trade

24 April, 2017, 05:59 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • World Bank President Jim Yong Kim talks to actor Matt Damon at the World Bank and IMF's spring meeting in Washington

Lagarde, who spoke at the opening news conference of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, said there was no single country in the world with negative forecast for this year even as the world economy is projected to grow at 3.5 per cent this year.

But as the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for global economic growth to 3.5 percent for this year - a rare upward revision - Lagarde said it is time to address these concerns from "an economic point of view", to help spread the benefits of growth to marginalized groups.

"From the various contacts that I've had with the administration so far, I have every reason to believe that we will make progress, that we will cooperate all together in order to support and indeed improve the system as we have it", she said.

Despite Lagarde's status as the head of an worldwide organization that espouses globalization, and Mnuchin's position as Treasury secretary for a president who rode to victory in part by harshly criticizing such forces, the conversation was gentle and the pair joked at times throughout the half-hour event.

"The G-20 consensus on issues such as free trade and combating climate change is crumbling in the face of the Trump administration's hostility to those positions", Prasad said.

"We need to make sure that this momentum is sustained and that we continue to have that growth and, more importantly, that that growth is shared more equitably", Lagarde said.

World finance leaders, confronted by a growing backlash against globalization, will seek to build support for free trade by finding ways to help those left behind. "That requires a level playing field ... not protectionist measures".

France is to hold the first round of presidential elections on Sunday.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim talks to actor Matt Damon at the World Bank and IMF's spring meeting in Washington

"We were at each other's throats for centuries", Ms Lagarde added.

"It would certainly entail major disorder", she said. "I've been saying that for two years", she said. They took their anger to the voting booth previous year.

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called on the Trump Administration not to turn its back on trade liberalisation.

Terri Ford of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said that 75 percent of the world's poor and the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS reside in countries which the World Bank now classifies as some bracket of middle-income.

The United States will be represented at the meetings by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

At his news conference on Friday, Schaeuble dodged questions about whether other nations expressed concerns about Trump's "America First" trade rhetoric during the G20 meetings.

Whether U.S. growth shows a sustainable pickup may depend in part on an economic shake-up promised by candidate Donald Trump that hasn't quite taken shape since he took office. "That is fair", he said.

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