G7 pledges to make global growth more inclusive

At G7, world finance chiefs are trying to gauge Trump's plans

At G7, world finance chiefs are trying to gauge Trump's plans

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed afterwards that major trading partners "are much more comfortable" with the Trump administration's trade policies and understand US growth will benefit them.

Besides ministers and governors from the Group of Seven - comprising Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Britain, and Japan, top officials from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also joined the meeting.

But he said the continued uncertainty about the direction of United States policy represented a risk, echoing comments made on Friday by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso.

Yet, he added, "We don't want to be protectionist, but we reserve our rights to be protectionist to the extent that we believe that trade is not free and fair".

The secretary arrived in Bari saying he was "excited" about USA trade policies after the announcement of a deal to boost exports of gas and beef to China, an agreement that was also noted by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

A "Bari Policy Agenda" signed at the meeting would provide an overall framework within which the G7 governments would try to foster a more inclusive growth through such tools.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso had earlier urged G7 members not to "backpedal on free trade as it has contributed to economic prosperity".

The meeting focused on finance and security issues such as keeping multinationals from dodging taxes and a collective response to cybercrime like the ransomware attack that hit dozens of countries on Friday.

Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan, who hosts this year's G7 meeting, said the discussions, which had been scheduled previous to Friday's cyberattack, were "unfortunately very timely", Reuters reported.

Steps taken by President Trump on trade and regulation since taking office have left foreign counterparts jittery.

Shelving differing views on protectionism, the G-7 finance chiefs showed unity on the fight against inequality, which - together with populist anger at trade, globalization and manufacturing job losses - fueled Trump's ascent to the US presidency, played a role in Britain's decision to exit the European Union, and propelled an antiglobalizm candidate into the French presidential runoff vote earlier this month.

"We will work to lift actual and potential growth, while ensuring that the fruits of economic growth are shared more widely", the statement said.

The finance meeting paves the way for a meeting of national leader in Sicily May 26-26.

Mnuchin said "this is a big priority for the president".

The issue will be discussed at the G7 summit in Taormina later this month, according to the Italian presidency.

The deal would allow USA companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China and tackles a range of long-standing barriers, ending a ban on imports of US beef and moving a step closer to allowing Chinese poultry on American supermarket shelves.

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