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US administration excited about trade policies after China agreement, says Mnuchin

US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin arrives for a G7 summit of Finance Ministers on May 12, 2017 in Bari.
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE | AFP | Getty Images
US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin arrives for a G7 summit of Finance Ministers on May 12, 2017 in Bari.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin emphasized the Trump administration's excitement after the U.S. and China announced a series of trade measures aimed at improving the trade balance between Washington and Beijing.

When asked how he planned to defend the Trump administration's "America First" trade policies at a G-7 meeting of finance ministers in Italy, Mnuchin told CNBC, "We're excited about U.S. trade policies and I think you probably saw last night, we made an announcement of a 100 day economic plan with the Chinese, so I think we're very happy with how we are proceeding on trade."

On Thursday evening, the U.S. and China struck a deal which would open China to exports of U.S. beef and chicken and, at the same time, give access to U.S. financial companies in areas in China such as card payment services and credit ratings.

Mnuchin arrived in Italy's southern seaside town of Bari on Friday with representatives from Europe, Japan and Canada hopeful he would shed some light on the direction of President Trump's key policies.

Although protectionism was technically off the agenda at the G-7 meeting, Trump's "America First" pledge had prompted global concerns regarding trade relationships between the world's largest economy and other nations.

'We need a strong US to lead the global economy'

"We need a strong United States to lead the global economy and global politics in a sustainable way. The United States is still the most important political and economic power and the best alliance for Europe," German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told CNBC on Friday.

The official agenda for the G-7 meeting from Thursday through Saturday focuses on inequality, tax laws, cybersecurity and preventing the funding of terrorism.

Italian Finance Minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, said in the run-up to the G-7 meeting that Italy would do everything it could to create more effective international regulations on the taxation of global internet companies. However, he conceded progress would be tricky given the differing viewpoints among G-7 members.

"I understand that there is a very ambitious tax reform program in the United States and we're watching closely on what is good for the United States and what could be learned by other countries," Padoan told CNBC on Friday.

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