U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to get tough on trade partners like China, Mexico and Germany. Now his Treasury chief, Steven Mnuchin, will get his first opportunity to confront them all in one room.
The meeting of the 20 most powerful economies’ finance ministers in Germany this week is likely to be dominated by talk about whether to commit to free trade, as previous meetings have — or implicitly accept that some countries may put up barriers, like tariffs, as Trump has promised.
The officials are also due to discuss their longstanding ban on manipulating currencies to gain economic advantage. Weakening a currency can help a country’s exporters, but can also end up dumping its troubles with business costs and competitiveness on its trade partners.
The gathering Friday and Saturday in the southern German resort town of Baden-Baden will help set the tone for international commerce and finance and will give Mnuchin a chance to clarify what the U.S. position is.
The focus will be on the final statement issued jointly by the finance ministers on Saturday.