FRANKFURT, March 15 The world's top economies
should recommit to maintaining open markets and cross-border
trade, the head of Germany's Bundesbank said on Wednesday,
challenging the new U.S. administration's more protectionist
stance on the eve of a key meeting.
Finance chiefs of G20 nations, meeting in the German town of
Baden-Baden on Friday and Saturday, should also push ahead with
new banking rules as deregulation, advocated by the new U.S.
administration, could easily sow the seeds of a fresh economic
crisis, risking serious harm to prosperity, Jens Weidmann told a
Seeking to put 'America first', U.S. President Donald
Trump's administration has advocated increased trade barriers
and measures to protect U.S. business interest, challenging a
G20 consensus to keeping markets open, upholding cross border
trade and resisting protectionism.
"It's now all the more important that these achievements are
not given up," Weidmann, who also sits on the European Central
Bank's Governing Council said.
"Open markets and a competitive economic system are the
pillars on which the prosperity of our economies rests,"
Weidmann said. "Free trade and competition result in a
quantifiable increase in prosperity, particularly for those who
have to consider their spending carefully."
While Trump has chastised free trade, already pulling out of
a key trade deal and proposing a border tax on imports, any
attempt to dilute a G20 commitment to free trade will likely
face resistance, putting the onus on host nation Germany to seek
Weidmann also warned the U.S. against easier bank
regulation, arguing only for fine tuning.
"Carrying out deregulation in the hope of stimulating the
economy could backfire," Weidmann said. "Insufficiently
regulated financial markets can do significant harm to economic
prosperity if a crisis occurs, as the latest financial crisis
has painfully demonstrated."
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Francesco Canepa, editing by