U.S. to Urge G-20 Partners to Abide by FX Pacts, Treasury Says

  • Secretary Mnuchin will attend first G-20 meeting this week
  • Treasury chief will push for fairer terms for U.S. companies

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will urge Group of 20 partners at a meeting this week to follow through on their commitment to refrain from competitive currency devaluations, a senior Treasury official said.

World finance chiefs will be keenly watching Mnuchin during his international debut at the G-20 gathering to see if he’ll shift gears on President Donald Trump’s campaign threats to get tough on trade cheats and currency manipulators. The spotlight will be on Mnuchin’s messaging about the U.S. reaction to currency devaluation to gain an edge in trade.

Mnuchin will stress the importance of implementing the existing G-20 currency pact and reiterate the need to level the playing field for American companies and workers, a senior Treasury official told reporters on the condition of anonymity on Monday in Washington.

Mnuchin Said to Focus on Currencies as G-20 Girds for Trump Era

The pledge to refrain from using monetary policy to cheapen currencies -- a mainstay of G-20 statements in recent years -- takes on new relevance amid U.S. claims against China, Germany and others.

So far in his presidency, Trump hasn’t followed through on a campaign promise to label China a currency manipulator immediately after taking office. Mnuchin has said he will use a regular Treasury review, next scheduled for April, to examine foreign currency practices.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Trump that a proposed tax overhaul could spark retaliatory measures, including higher tariffs for American companies, according to Der Spiegel magazine. She postponed until Friday a trip to Washington to meet Trump because of a winter storm expected on Tuesday.

Mnuchin is scheduled to meet German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin before heading to the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers March 17-18 in Baden-Baden, Germany.