WASHINGTON, March 23 The International Monetary
Fund viewed a shift in trade language in last weekend's
communique from the Group of 20 major economies showing
consensus to improve the global trade architecture, IMF
spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday.
The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in
Baden-Baden, Germany agreed to demands from the new U.S. Trump
administration to drop a decade-old pledge to "resist all forms
In its place, the group pledged to "strengthen the
contribution of trade to our economies". The language was viewed
by some participants as preserving U.S. flexibility on trade
"The way I looked at the communique, I think we saw actually
G20 consensus revolving around improving, not abandoning, the
architecture of free trade," Rice told a regular news briefing.
"Of course how individual countries approach that improvement
process is up to them."
Rice added that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
emphasized that G20 countries should "avoid self-inflicted
wounds" that would reduce trade.
"We should avoid policies that would seriously undermine
trade and openness and productivity," Rice said, adding that the
IMF views open trade and productivity growth as helping to boost
incomes and living standards.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)