G7 commit to tackling cyber attacks

Ivan Schwartz
May 20, 2017

Mr Mnuchin said he believed his counterparts from other countries were becoming more comfortable with the new administration "now they have spent time with me and have listened to the president and listen to what the message on what the economic agenda is".

Trump will decide whether to quit the global Paris agreement on climate change - a campaign promise - after meeting leaders at a G7 summit on May 26-27, the White House has said.

The deal would allow USA companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China and tackles a range of long-standing barriers, ending a ban on imports of US beef and moving a step closer to allowing Chinese poultry on American supermarket shelves.

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, is flanked by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, following their bilateral talks, at the G7 of Ministers of finance, in Bari, southern Italy, Friday, May 12, 2017.

Greece's creditors, including the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will be in Bari.

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Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters that the discussions, which had been scheduled before Friday's attacks, were "unfortunately very timely".

But unlike a G7 leaders' communique of 2016, the financial leaders in Bari did not endorse free trade and reject protectionism, reflecting pressure from the United States where President Donald Trump has signaled his scepticism about free trade deals.

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A global cyber attack infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

Aso told reporters that he has come to see that Trump's trade policy - widely viewed as protectionist - is no different from previous administrations in favor of free trade. "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies".

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.

"To the extent people had patched their networks, this would have been prevented", said Mr. Mnuchin.

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said continued uncertainty about US policy could dampen optimism within the G-7 about the global economy's gradual recovery from the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago.

The meeting also coincided with news of a significant foray by the Trump administration into global commerce.

The finance ministers and central bank governors from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States also pledged to use all policy tools - monetary, fiscal and structural; individually and collectively - to promote sustainable and inclusive growth.

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