Mnuchin considers traveling to China amid trade spat

World Bank approves increase in lending capacity

The world economy, which grew by 3.8% previous year, appears to have settled into a run of stronger growth.

The meetings in Washington come as the United States threatens $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports to try to force changes in Beijing's industrial policies, which the United States says are aimed at acquiring American intellectual property.

Treasury Steven Mnuchin urged the International Monetary Fund to do more to address what the Trump administration says are unfair trade practices and called on the World Bank to steer cheap loans away from China and towards poorer countries. "At the International Monetary Fund, we try to establish dialogue", she said. But an intensifying dispute between the United States and China over Beijing's aggressive attempt to challenge United States technological dominance has raised the prospect of a trade war that could drag down worldwide growth.

The row, which comes as the world economy records its strongest growth in years, cast a pall over the semi-annual gathering of the world's finance officials.

In recent weeks, however, both countries have hunkered down with neither moving forward on their threats as economists warn that a trade war would be a lose-lose scenario for both countries.

"Trade tensions are not to the benefit of anyone", said Lesetja Kganyago, who leads the policymaking committee and is governor of the South African Reserve Bank.

Early this month, President Donald Trump's announcement that he was considering widening the scope of penalties to include an additional $100 billion of Chinese goods brought a vehement response from China's Commerce Ministry, which said it would refuse to negotiate while the USA was increasing the pressure over trade.

On Friday, Mnuchin had called on the International Monetary Fund to do more to police countries running large trade surpluses, a role that has traditionally been left to the Geneva-based World Trade Organization.

Kojak clarified during the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings, that the first installment amounted to $2.75 billion.

"I look at this as a package transaction... we support a capital increase on the World Bank along with the associated reforms that they're talking about making", Mnuchin said, adding that he was hopeful Congress would approve the increase.

Many have used the finance meetings to protest against Trump's protectionist trade policies, which mark a reversal of seven decades of U.S. support for ever-freer global commerce. 'Unilateral trade restrictions will only inflict harm on the global economy'.

In addition to wrangling over trade, finance officials from the Group of 20 powerful economies focused on geopolitical risks and rising interest rates, two threats to growth.

President Donald Trump last month approved steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, while Beijing has slapped duties on key U.S. agricultural exports and has threatened to do likewise for the sensitive American soybean industry. China countered by targeting $50 billion in USA exports.

Finance leaders repeatedly sounded warnings about a potential trade war.

In response, China introduced its own tariffs on goods produced in the US.

Mnuchin met during the past three days with financial officials from China, Japan and Europe over a series of punitive tariffs unveiled by the Trump administration against China and other trading partners.

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