G7 ministers take aim at cybercrime


Inequality, worldwide tax rules, cyber security and blocking the funding of terrorism are the focus of the official agenda for Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers who are meeting in the Adriatic port city of Bari, Italy, Reuters reported. "We will work to lift actual and potential growth, while ensuring that the fruits of economic growth are shared more widely", the statement said.

BARI, Italy (AP) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says major trading partners "are much more comfortable" with the Trump administration's trade policies and understand U.S. growth will benefit them.

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

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he would consider retaliating against USA coal imports.

He said the Trump administration's economic policies aren't directly aimed at pursuing policies that would restrict trade, but rather are meant to spur US growth and aid the global economy.

Populist anger at trade, globalization and manufacturing job losses fueled Trump's ascent to the USA presidency, played a role in Britain's decision to exit the European Union, and propelled an antiglobalism candidate into the French presidential runoff vote earlier this month. The US government sees domestic growth objectives in each as crucial for achieving significant improvements in global economy, but the rest of the G7 seems to think otherwise, seeing global trade as key source of growth.

Whilst the final communique included some wording referring to fighting inequality and financial inclusiveness of the global economy as a desirable target, Mnuchin's view of a better model of worldwide trade as rather "fair" instead of "free" prevented a G7 consensus on the matter. "We're going to try to get this done as quickly as we can".

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"We need a strong United States to lead the global economy and global politics in a sustainable way", said Schaeuble.

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

Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy's minister of economy and finance, said he is watching the US approach "closely" for lessons other countries can use in reforming their tax codes.

"Of course we recognize that there are different starting points, different views in different countries", the chair of the talks, Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, told Bloomberg Television, adding that "this is not an obstacle to reaching a common perspective".

Instead in the two-day meeting in the southern Italian port city of Bari they have been focusing on inequality, worldwide tax rules and cyber security but Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble had a message for Washington. The European Union also attends the informal forum.

The G-7 is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The group's agreements aren't legally binding; instead, they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.