USA calls on International Monetary Fund to do more to address unfair trade practices

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. AFP

The International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) also noted that global growth prospects are threatened by increasing trade disputes, geopolitical tensions and low income countries' heavy debt burden.

China has received information that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is considering a trip to Beijing to hold talks on the ongoing trade dispute, the Ministry of Commerce said in a brief statement on Sunday. In a concluding communique from the IMF's spring meeting in Washington, the committee said long-term risks to the global economy were "skewed to the downside".

Trade tensions dominated the three days of talks among top finance officials attending meetings of the Group of 20 major economies, the 189-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending agency, the World Bank.

The IMF, he said, should continue to strengthen its capacity for multilateral surveillance to identify evolving global vulnerabilities. The row, which comes as the world economy records its strongest growth in years, cast a pall over the gathering of the world's finance officials. He said they also discussed China's planned further opening of some markets, a move that United States has encouraged and "appreciated".

South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, who now serves as the IMFC chairman, and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will discuss the committee's stance at a news briefing in Washington on Saturday.

Irwin believes China's rising debt, as well as a looming trade war between China and the U.S., could pose a threat to the global economy.

Heightened growth is helping to spur increased business investment, create much-needed private sector jobs, and expand economic opportunities for many around the world, he said.

'My key concern.is to help in the process of resolving those issues before they escalate to a point where they would hamper growth and stability, ' she told reporters at the conclusion of the meeting.

The US get-tough trade approach was roundly criticized by many countries at the finance meetings but Mnuchin insisted that the United States was not trying to provoke a global trade war but simply achieving a more fair system for American workers.

"We have now adopted a framework for enhanced engagement on governance and corruption that aims for a more systematic, evenhanded, effective and candid engagement with member countries". "We will work together to reduce excessive global imbalances in a way that supports global growth by pursuing appropriate and sustainable policies", the communique said.

President Donald Trump last month approved steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, while Beijing has slapped duties on key USA agricultural exports and has threatened to do likewise for the sensitive American soybean industry.

The US has rattled financial markets with a series of provocative moves in recent weeks.

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