BERLIN German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called on the G20 leading economies on Wednesday to work more closely together, resisting a push towards protectionism by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.Germany takes over the presidency of the G20 on Thursday, a platform Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to use to safeguard multilateral cooperation that may be under threat following Trump's election victory.Speaking at an event to open the German presidency, Schaeuble said nationalism and protectionism were not the right response to globalization and stressed the importance of open markets and global trade."We cannot reverse globalization, nor do we want to," Schaeuble said. "We will only master the problems of this world if we work more closely together."Trump has said China - a G20 member - is "killing" the United States on trade and that he would take steps to reduce the trade deficit with China, including labelling Beijing as a currency manipulator soon after he takes office on Jan. 20.
German officials acknowledge privately that they will not have an easy ride leading the G20, but say the motto for the presidency, "Shaping an Interconnected World", indicates they want to take globalization forward rather than unwind it.Since the global financial crisis took hold in 2008, the G20 has been the leading forum for world leaders to coordinate economic policy.Schaeuble said: "We have to expect that we will experience financial and economic crises in the future."
Germany faces a pressured timetable for its presidency, however, due to federal elections due next September after which coalition negotiations are likely. That means it must try to get most business done by G20 summit on July 7-8."Good luck with that," said one official from another G20 country.
On economic policy, Schaeuble called for the normalisation of monetary policy to go hand in hand with structural reforms to support economic growth."We need a timely appropriate normalization of monetary policy," he said. (Reporting by Gernot Heller and Paul Carrel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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