Chill in global economy prompts G20 call for trade truce
The risk that global economic growth could slow more than expected spurred a call on Friday from top finance officials for countries to overcome trade differences and opt for multilateral co-operation and "timely policy action".
Policy makers from the Group of 20 industrialised countries are worried that the weakness evident in key economies could spread, especially if elevated trade tensions, such as those between the United States and China, escalate further.
"The balance of risks remains skewed to the downside," Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said at a news conference following a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers. "We recognise the risk that growth prospects might deteriorate if weakening in key economies feed into each other."
Mr Aso's remarks dovetail with those of other officials gathered in Washington for the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, many of whom fret that self-inflicted wounds from protectionist trade policies are to blame for the weakness. The week's proceedings kicked off with another downgrade of global growth estimates from the IMF.
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