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Japan warns against bilateral trade measures

Jiji Press WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — Finance Minister Taro Aso said Saturday that countries should not resort to bilateral trade measures as a means of addressing global imbalances.

“Excessive global imbalances are a challenge that should be addressed through multilateral cooperation, rather than bilateral trade measures,” Aso said in a statement at a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee in Washington.

Aso was apparently referring to huge U.S. trade deficits with countries such as Japan and China. Japan, this year’s chair of the Group of 20 leading economies, is putting addressing current account imbalances high on the G20’s agenda.

In a statement issued after the meeting of the IMFC, the main advisory body of the International Monetary Fund, global financial officials said, “We will work together to reduce excessive global imbalances through macroeconomic and structural policies that support sustainable global growth.”

The statement said, “The global expansion continues, but at a slower pace than anticipated in October,” when the officials previously met. “Growth is projected to firm up in 2020, but risks remain tilted to the downside,” it said.

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