G20 financial chiefs agree open trade is key to growth - Schaeuble

BADEN BADEN, Germany (Reuters) - There was a broad consensus among G20 financial chiefs that open trade was key to strengthening economic resilience, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Saturday, downplaying the lack of a clear rejection of protectionism.

Some members like France said they were frustrated by the lack of a rejection of protectionism in the final communique.

"We were all convinced that world trade leads to global growth," Schaeuble said during a news conference at the end of a two-day meeting of finance ministers and central bankers of the world's leading economies in the German town of Baden Baden.

Asked why a clear rejection of protectionism did not feature in the final document, Schaeuble said: "It is not that we were not united. It was totally undisputed that we are against protectionism. But it is not very clear what (protectionism) means to each (minister)."

He added that in some countries the responsibility for negotiating trade policies did not fall under the finance ministries, so some delegations did not have a mandate to support far reaching commitments on commerce.

In Germany, the economy ministry is in charge of trade.

G20 financial chiefs had vowed to resist all forms of protectionism at their meeting in China last year.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration says it wants to make international trade rules fairer, raising concerns among exporting nations like Germany.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Michael Nienaber)

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