Finance ministers for the world’s biggest economic powers on Saturday issued a statement without their traditional pledge against trade protectionism, after the U.S. strongly rejected to any such language and refused to come to agreement with other leaders. As U.S. President Trump continues with his plans to put “America First,” the move seems to be the first sign by the U.S. administration that it may not want to play nice with trade partners. In explaining his decision to veto the statement against trade protectionism and in support of free trade, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. is committed to free trade but wants to re-examine certain trade deals. “What was in the past communique is not necessarily relevant from my standpoint,” Mnuchin said, remarking on this year’s break with a decade-long tradition of defending free trade in the meeting’s communique. “I understand what the president's desire is and his policies, and I negotiated them from here. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” he said, according to Reuters. According to the Washington Post, several European officials and one former U.S. official said this was the first time the U.S. blocked a statement on free trade.
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