G-7 nations fear long-term growth may be subdued

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso leaves at the end of a plenary session during a G7 of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Bari southern Italy Friday

A broader theme not on the written agenda, however, was the desire of foreign leaders to get a better read on Trump's policies, and US officials desire to make their positions clear.

Padoan said progress would be reviewed again when G7 leaders, including Donald Trump and new French President Emmanuel Macron, meet in Sicily at the end of this month.

According to The AP, "one partner openly pushing back was Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who rejected as "baseless" duties the US imposed on some Canadian lumber imports".

The Group of 7 is also having the opportunity to hear more about the Trump administration's economic proposals from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was in attendance and confirmed that cybersecurity would continue to be a main talking point for the world's seven most advanced economies.

After the meeting, officials from Japan and member European countries remained concerned about the economic shift in Washington, particularly after Mnuchin said the USA reserved the right to be protectionist if it thought trade was not free or fair.

The Italian delegation, which is responsible for all of this year's G7 meetings including a summit of global leaders in Sicily in May, had sought to avoid a repeat of the scrap that broke out between the U.S. delegation and everyone else in the room - bar Japan - at the G20 meeting held between finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden in March.

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While the commitment is weaker than the language in last year's G20 statement to avoid protectionism in all its forms, its inclusion comes despite talks on trade being left off the official agenda.

Other issues discussed included debt relief for Greece.

Recalling his discussions with Mnuchin and other G-7 counterparts, Aso said he thinks Mnuchin "has mostly erased concern that (the new USA administration) may transform free trade into protectionism". Still, both he and Mnuchin stressed how important the U.S. He also said the administration had held "preliminary but productive discussions" with the Canadian and Mexican governments on Nafta.

While formal negotiations have yet to begin, Mnuchin expressed optimism that the countries would be able to fix the trade agreement in a way that would be a win for all three countries.

Trump's plans to cut taxes and raise trade barriers could, theoretically, give a short-term income boost to some workers, but would not deliver the long-term growth that is necessary for reducing the effects of inequality, according to Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize winning economist at Princeton University.

There were also discussions on cybercrime, financial regulation and global taxation.

Officials also warned that long-term economic growth could remain subdued and that steps need to be taken to make the global economy work for everyone.

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