G-20 finance officials pledge to protect global growth

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he held a constructive meeting with the head of China's central bank and that their discussion on trade issues was "candid".

However, the treasury secretary from the U.S., which continues to threaten more tariffs on China if there is no trade deal, played down the risk of a global economic conflagration.

The world's top finance policymakers Sunday weighed the impact of ballooning trade tensions on the global economy amid differences over the extent to which they are dragging on growth.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the agreement that we reached".

Speaking from a summit of finance ministers in Japan Saturday, Mnuchin said President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are planning to meet at a G-20 summit at the end of this month. "It is very, very significant and we very much appreciate the commitments that Mexico has made to help us on those important immigration issues", Mr Mnuchin told reporters.

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Following 30 hours of wrangling in what one official described as a "tense" atmosphere, G20 finance minister and central bank chiefs produced a hard-fought final statement acknowledging that "growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside".

"People talk about the economic risk of trade wars" however "they should be even more focused on the benefits of having a great trade agreement", Mnuchin said, noting that there's no evidence of the US economy taking a hit from tariffs.

He urged China and the U.S.to resolve their disputes through the WTO, saying it "is only within the multilateral framework that we can find long-term solutions for present trade tensions".

Meanwhile, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said there was a "real risk" that "this global economic slowdown could turn into a global economic crisis due to trade tensions".

China warned its companies operating in the United States on Tuesday they could face harassment from US law enforcement agencies, and Beijing also rebuffed USA criticism of a Chinese trade white paper as "singing the same old tune".

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Over 700 journalists from all over the world will cover the high-level meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 scheduled to take place on Saturday in the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka, the event's organisers have told Sputnik.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde emphasised that "the first priority should be to resolve the current trade tensions" while working to modernise international trading rules.

"As it relates to the higher tariffs, if you just recall where we were in Buenos Aires, they were going to go up", Mnuchin said.

Aso said "market confidence could be eroded" if there were no rapid resolution to the ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington, which has seen the world's top two economies impose billions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs and threaten even tougher action.

The IMF warned last week that while growth was still expected to improve this year and next, the US-China tariff war could knock 0.5 percent from global GDP output in 2020, about the size of G20 member South Africa's economy. The statement also contains no admissions that the deepening US-China trade conflict is hurting global growth.

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"It's doable, it's more than doable", he told reporters. "There will be winners and losers".

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