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Japan says G20 summit to debate trade including WTO reform

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Japan says G20 summit to debate trade including WTO reform
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By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Substantial discussions on trade, including reform of the World Trade Organization, will likely take place at a summit of Group of 20 major economies next week in Osaka, a senior Japanese finance ministry official said on Wednesday.

At a finance leaders’ gathering held earlier this month, the G20 countries issued a communique warning that trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified” and that they stood ready to take further action against such risks.

While the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors discussed the impact trade tensions could have on the global economy, more substantial talks on trade policy will be made at the leaders’ summit in Osaka, said Masatsugu Asakawa, Japan’s vice finance minister for international affairs.

Asakawa, who oversaw the G20 finance leaders’ gathering, also said there was a shared understanding in the group that members would accept any exchange-rate moves driven by ultra-easy monetary policies as long as the measures are not directly aimed at manipulating currencies.

“The Bank of Japan’s ultra-easy policy is aimed at beating deflation, not at manipulating exchange rates. That’s understood widely among the G20 economies,” Asakawa told a news conference.

Japan is chair of this year’s G20 meetings.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher & Shri Navaratnam)

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