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G-7 finance chiefs to eye China trade practices at weekend G-20 talks

In this June 2, 2018 photo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin meets the press after attending a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs in Whistler, Canada. (Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors will discuss China's "unfair" trade practices on the sidelines of a two-day Group of 20 finance meeting starting Saturday in Argentina, a senior U.S. Treasury official said Tuesday.

    The G-7 finance chiefs are expected to focus on Chinese trade practices such as industrial subsidies and alleged intellectual property and technology theft, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity, adding that sanctions on North Korea and Iran will also be discussed.

    During the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has no plan to have a formal bilateral meeting with Chinese officials despite trade tensions escalating between the world's two largest economies, according to the official.

    There will be "ample" opportunities for Mnuchin to engage with Chinese officials during G-20 sessions and informal settings, the official said.

    Earlier this month, Washington and Beijing invoked additional 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of each other's imports. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose duties on more than $500 billion in Chinese products -- nearly the total value of U.S. imports from the country last year -- unless Beijing alters its trade practices.

    Mnuchin, however, plans to meet bilaterally with Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, as well as counterparts from other members such as Australia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.

    The G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors will discuss issues such as global economic risks, infrastructure finance, terrorism financing and digital tax, according to the Treasury official.

    The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. The G-20 involves the G-7 plus Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the European Union.

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