Global finance leaders are downplaying differences over free trade with President Donald Trump, saying there is wide agreement that globalization delivers stronger economic growth.
But officials gathered for the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund warn repeatedly that too many people have been left behind at a time when low-wage competition and automation have reduced factory jobs in the world’s wealthy economies.
If more isn’t done, “we will see more protectionism and countries retreating from globalization,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters after a meeting of the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20, which represents the biggest global economies. Germany is chairing the group this year.
The comments came a day after Trump ordered the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate whether steel imports posed a threat to U.S. national security — a move that could lead to the U.S. imposing tariffs