Germany new finance minister pushes free trade at first meeting of G20

Vastavam web: Germany’s new finance minister Olaf Scholz warned on Sunday that protectionism could harm future economic prospects and said Germany would continue talks to dissuade the United States from imposing planned punitive steel and aluminum tariffs.Scholz told reporters en route to his first meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors that he would underscore the importance of free trade for the global economy when he meets U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday.

Free trade had a decisive role to play in securing future economic growth, Scholz said, adding, “That’s why it would be difficult if protectionism played a bigger role.”Scholz said Germany had a “clear position” on the planned U.S. tariffs, and hoped further discussions with U.S. officials could help avert a looming trade war with the European Union.

German and other EU officials are pushing back against plans announced earlier this month by U.S. President Donald Trump to impose duties on incoming steel and aluminum. He also threatened to levy a tax on European cars if the EU did not remove tariffs and trade barriers on a range of goods.The two leaders agreed to work on solutions for excess capacity in world steel markets within the framework of the G20 group of industrialized nations.