Trade talks between the United States and the European Union have been “sensible” and don’t point to a trade war, Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz said on Friday.
Finance ministers and central bankers from across the world are arriving in the Indonesian resort of Bali this week for the International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings.
The gathering comes amid an escalating trade dispute between the United States and China, financial jitters in some emerging economies and worries about Italy’s public finances.
Scholz struck a sanguine tone, however. “There are very sensible and trustful talks between the EU and the U.S. that don’t point to an escalation of the trade conflict,” he told reporters.
Sitting alongside Scholz, Germany’s central bank president Jens Weidmann said a recent slowdown in global growth was due to a “normalization” from previous years’ exuberance, rather than a consequence of trade tensions.
Turning to Italy, Scholz said he took Italian policymakers’ pledge to respect EU budget rules “at face value” but sent a warning to the euro zone’s largest debtor. “If anybody has to give advice to Italy it’s to be careful what it’s doing,” he said.
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