IMF drops pledge to fight protectionism

IMF drops pledge to fight protectionism
By Emma Clark
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The IMF committee had previously warned protectionism posed a risk to global growth.


The International Monetary Fund has dropped a pledge to fight protectionism, amid a split over trade policy.

The IMF committee had previously warned it posed a risk to global growth.

But at its spring conference in Washington it played down differences with President Donald Trump’s administration over free trade.

IMF members set aside trade split as French vote rattles nerves:

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 22, 2017

At the conference, IMF head Christine Lagarde asked US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: “How do you see free trade being fair and what improvements can there be to that free and fair trade?”

He replied: “The president believes in reciprocal trade deals and reciprocal free trade.

“And what that means is if our markets are open there should be a reciprocal nature to other people’s markets are open as well.

“That’s what he believes is free and fair.

“What’s not free and fair is if our market is open and other people either have high tariffs or have high import barriers, non-tariff barriers, that creates one-sided issues.

“And those are discussions that we’re having and I think have been very productive.”

Starting now – watch Lagarde</a> conversation with <a href="">USTreasury Secretary stevenmnuchin1</a> at the <a href="">#IMFMeetings</a> <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; IMF (IMFNews) April 22, 2017

A communique from the IMF’s steering body dropped the anti-protectionism pledge and adopted trade language from last month’s G-20 meeting.

The G-20, at a meeting last month in Germany, dropped a pledge to oppose trade protectionism amid pushback from the Trump administration, which says trade policy needs to more clearly benefit American companies and workers.

The IMF said it will instead turn its attention towards geopolitical threats to the global economy, as the unpredictable French and German elections loom.

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