U.S. protectionism could meet its match at the upcoming G20 talks in Baden-Baden, Germany this week.
Leaders from Europe and other major economies may be mounting a campaign to encourage U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration to come back to middle ground on trade, according to the Financial Times.
Increasing uncertainty over trade not only has manufacturers and sourcing executives on edge, it has the world’s economic leaders wondering where they stand and what to do next.
On Friday, U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin will meet with finance ministers from the G20 nations, which include many of the now defunct Trans Pacific Partnership countries, and the European Union.
“The gathering comes amid uncertainty over Mr. Trump’s anti-globalization ethos and will be a test of international efforts to pull the U.S. president away from the protectionist ‘America First’ agenda he has set out ahead of G7 and G20 summits in May and July,” the Financial Times wrote.
Mnuchin is expected to fight for U.S. interests at the meeting this week, including reaffirming commitments on addressing competitive currency devaluations and macroeconomic policies.
Though trade leaders across the G20 appear poised to pounce on U.S. protectionist policies, an early draft of what’s set to be said in Baden-Baden included language suggesting the U.S. would resist protectionism in favor of fair and open trade, so long as the U.S. isn’t damaged by it.
It’s not yet clear based on that early draft where discussions on trade will go, though many are hoping Mnuchin will help to reassure some of America’s trading partners about the administration’s position on trade, but it remains to be seen whether any detailed plans will be outlined at the meeting.
Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble considers the upcoming talks a move into unknown territory.
“The election in the US had a lot of elements that were very unfamiliar—to put it politely—to people in Europe and in Germany and that we wouldn’t want to imitate,” Schäuble told the Financial Times. “The US voted, and we will work with the people they elected as well as possible. International co-operation will continue.”