Little economic common ground found at G-20 meeting

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends a press conference after the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden southern Germany

Instead, Mnuchin pushed for more "fair" trade between Europe and the USA, echoing President Donald Trump's rhetoric about bad trade deals and America's trade deficit.

There is still hope among advocates of free-trade that moderate voices in the Trump administration will gain influence. Indeed, the USA delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stood its ground against enormous pressure from other G20 states.

The G20 meeting in the German spa town of Baden-Baden marked his first appearance in an worldwide forum since he was appointed to the position.

"The historical language was not really relevant", he said.

I "regret that our discussions today didn't end in a satisfactory manner", French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in a statement.

Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie on Saturday met with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2017.

"We believe in free trade: We are one of the largest markets in the world, we are one of the largest trading partners in the world", Mnuchin said.

The most immediate problem for the rest of the G20 is that they head into the summit of leaders, in Hamburg in July, with tremendous uncertainty over whether they can bring the U.S. into the fold.

G20 finance ministers will probably remove any mention of trade in the final communique as Trump's team pushes for language on fair trade and others stick to the open trade mantra.

However, he added that it was good for the United States as long as it was balanced.

Clear support emerged last week from Group of 20 (G20) members' Finance Ministers and central bank governors for the broadening of worldwide economic and financial cooperation with African countries to "foster sustainable and inclusive growth" in line with the African Union's Agenda 2063.

Gabriel Felbermayr, an economist with the IFO in Germany said that the G20's failure to formally reject protectionism is "a clear breach of tradition" meaning "now everything is possible". So far, he is one of the only members of Trump's Cabinet who has sought to develop relationships with foreign leaders. The company had been trying to restructure and said in February it faced a "going concern issue" if it did achieve a favorable outcome.

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