US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin triggered a brawl over protectionism during his first overseas meeting last month when he blocked fellow G20 finance ministers from issuing a longstanding exhortation against erecting trade barriers. At his second international outing he seems intent on steering the discussion on to less slippery terrain.
In an interview with the Financial Times ahead of this week's spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the former Goldman Sachs banker sought to assuage fears that US President Donald Trump was about to rip up the global economic order or launch a new round of currency and trade wars.
Instead, he laid out an agenda that gives credence to the growing view in Washington that, when it comes to economic policy at least, the Trump administration may be turning out to be a variant of mainstream Republicanism rather than the fire-breathing "America First" populism Mr Trump employed to get elected.
Mr Trump campaigned on the promise to name China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office. But Mr Mnuchin presented the administration's decision not to do so as a simple acknowledgment that Beijing is, if anything, now propping up its currency rather than weakening it for economic advantage.
"To manipulate a currency you have to be doing it to disadvantage the United States. To the extent that you manipulate a currency that advantages the United States that is not currency manipulation," he said.
He also rejected the idea that recent complaints by Mr Trump about the strength of the dollar were an attempt to talk down the US currency. "Absolutely not. Absolutely not," he said.
The US remains concerned about currency issues, Mr Mnuchin made clear. The Treasury's twice-yearly currency report may have reached the same conclusion as previous findings but "the details" and the tougher criticism of China were different, he said. The Trump administration also expected the IMF to be more vigilant about global currency swings, with Mr Mnuchin arguing that addressing the issue was "one of the IMF's most important roles".
If some feared Mr Trump's election might signal US withdrawal from the world, Mr Mnuchin offered signs of the administration's willingness to engage in attempts to deal with economic crises elsewhere.