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US to urge G20 to meet commitments on exchange rates
[WASHINGTON] US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will attend his first Group of 20 meeting this week and will press members to fulfill their prior commitments on exchange rates, a senior Treasury official said Monday.
The official, who briefed reporters on background, said the G20 can be a "helpful" forum to promote issues of interest to the US administration, including boosting global growth and pledges to avoid devaluing currencies to gain a competitive trade advantage.
The official declined to say whether the US would press for stronger language on exchange rates from the G20 ministers, who meet in Baden-Baden, Germany on Friday and Saturday.
But, the official said, the commitments already made in previous communiques "are very important".
Currencies, always a sensitive topic, have been pushed to the forefront once again by White House economic advisor Peter Navarro, who has accused G20 members Germany and China of taking advantage of weak currencies to build a trade surplus with the United States.
The G20 language on currencies has remained consistent for several years, with members promising to "refrain from competitive devaluations and we will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes".
The Treasury official said implementation is key and the US will be it watching to ensure countries "follow through on those commitments". The G20 also pledged to "resist all forms of protectionism," but again the US Treasury official declined to speculate on any changes that might be made to the communique.
Mr Mnuchin will have bilateral meetings with several counterparts during his trip, including with China's finance minister Xiao Jie. He will also make stops in London and Berlin.