USA remains at odds with G7 partners over economic protectionist policies

Mnuchin spoke after face-to-face meetings with major trade partners such as Germany, Japan and Canada on the sidelines of the Group of Seven finance ministers' meeting in Bari, Italy.

"We are excited about USA trade policies and I think you probably saw last night we made an announcement on a hundred day economic plan with the Chinese", he said as he headed into the meeting in the town's 13th-Century fortress.

Highlighting the gap between the Trump administration and other countries, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the United States reserves the right to be protectionist on trade. "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", the G7 communique read.

He was to meet separately Friday with Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, and then with Japan's deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso.

But he said the continued uncertainty about the direction of U.S. policy represented a risk, echoing comments made on Friday by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso.

Trump has proposed slashing the USA corporate income tax rate and offer multinational businesses a steep tax break on overseas profits brought back to the U.S. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group representing many advanced economies, has urged the U.S.to lower its corporate tax rate.

"We are agreed on many things. including on the fight against cyber crime which is unfortunately very timely", Padoan said on his arrival for Saturday's closing session.

Finally, the G7 financial leaders took the first steps to develop a coordinated taxation approach towards digital economy, and asked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to develop a series of policy options in an interim report due in spring 2018.

Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan joked that the attacks had been perfectly timed. "We're going to try to get this done as quickly as we can". While there was no single best receipt that could work for all G7 members in the same way, their policies "should aim to lift actual and potential growth, while achieving a more even distribution of its fruits", the Bari Policy Agenda stated.

The Italian hosts say the meeting themes will include making economic growth benefit more people; coordination among worldwide financial organizations such as the global Monetary Fund and the World Bank; and efforts to stop companies from dodging taxes by moving income across borders.

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said there was a "light breeze" of optimism within the G7 about the recovering global economy after years of sluggish growth following the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago.

They also called for a renewed common effort against cybercrime.

The gathering paved the way for a meeting of national leaders in Taormina, Sicily on May 26-27. The European Union also attends the informal forum.

The group's agreements, presented in the form of a final statement, aren't legally binding; instead they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.

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