Japan urges G20 members to be mindful of possible escalation of trade tension

Saturday, 2019-04-13 13:16:45
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Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks during a news conference following meetings of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington D.C., the United States, on April 12, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on April 12 urged Group of Twenty (G20) members to pay attention to possible escalation of trade tension as the global economy continues to slow down, with numerous challenges going forward.

"The balance of risks remains skewed to the downside," Aso said in a news conference following meetings of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, which were held on the sidelines of the 2019 Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.

"We must also be mindful of possibility of any escalation of trade tension, policy uncertainty, and geopolitical risks and sudden sharp tightening of financing conditions, against the backdrop of elevated financial vulnerability," said Aso, who is also the Japanese deputy prime minister.

Aso said G20 finance ministers and central bank governors met for the first time on April 11-12 under Japan's G20 presidency, and called on members to jointly address issues such as global imbalances and aging.

The IMF on April 9 lowered its global growth forecast for 2019 to 3.3 percent in the newly-released World Economic Outlook report, down 0.2 percentage point from its estimation in January.

The report also cautioned about downside risks, which include trade tension, no-deal Brexit, and significant financial vulnerabilities associated with large private and public sector debt in several countries.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde on April 11 urged policy makers to "do no harm" and avoid wrong trade policies, as the global economy experiences broad-based slowdown with a prospect of a "precarious" rebound.

Xinhua