Aso, Mnuchin agree on cooperation over N. Korea

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday after meeting with officials from the world's other industrialized democracies that he thought they were more at ease with Donald Trump's economic policies.

The Italian delegation, which is responsible for all of this year's G7 meetings including a summit of global leaders in Sicily in May, had sought to avoid a repeat of the scrap that broke out between the United States delegation and everyone else in the room - bar Japan - at the G20 meeting held between finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden in March. "The U.S. administration is quite new and the cooperation is improving", Schaeuble said.

Separately, Padoan said his relations with new U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were "improving all the time", although there were naturally "differences" in some areas, as there are within the G7 in general.

The finance ministers and central bank governors from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States left trade off the agenda at the Bari talks, apparently due to a gap among the members over Trump's "America First" trade policy.

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The discussion on such topic came "very timely, unfortunately", Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan noted at the meeting.

A broader theme not on the written agenda, however, was the desire of foreign leaders to get a better read on President Donald Trump's policies, as well as US officials' desire to make their positions clear.

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The draft, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, also said the G7 financial leaders would strengthen cooperation to counter cyber threats such as a global online attack which infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries on Friday.

A "Bari Policy Agenda" signed at the meeting would provide an overall framework within which the G7 governments would try to foster a more inclusive growth through such tools.

Mnuchin's presence was overshadowed by a political firestorm in Washington after Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, whose agency was investigating links between the president's 2016 election campaign and the Russian government. "We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", the G7 communique read.

Growing threat of cybercrime puts G7 economies at risk, according to group's finance ministers.

Earlier, the finance officials warned that long-term growth could remain subdued and that steps need to be taken to make the global economy work for everyone. The European Union also attends meetings of the group.

"We reiterate that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability", the communique said.

The group's agreements, presented in the form of a final statement, aren't legally binding; instead they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.

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