Global finance officials pledge to tackle economic slowdown

WASHINGTON — Global finance officials are pledging closer cooperation in efforts to lift the world economy out its current slowdown, but tensions persist between the United States and other nations over trade and other issues.

Officials wrapped up the spring meetings of the 189-nation International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Saturday, expressing hope the slowdown that began last year will be followed by stronger growth in the second half of this year and into 2020.

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The IMF’s steering committee said all members, in order to protect the current economic expansion, would “act promptly to shore up growth for the benefit of all.”

At a closing news conference, the committee chairman, Lesetja Kganyago, head of the central bank of South Africa, said every country needs to be ready to address issues involving financial stability “with all available tools.”

Many nations were jolted last year when stock markets went into a nosedive, reversed only when major central banks, including the Federal Reserve, halted efforts to tighten credit policies.

Separately, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that both the United States and China were moving closer to an agreement on trade. The trade war between the world’s two biggest economies and the punitive tariffs each nation has imposed on the other raised widespread concerns during the talks.

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But Chen Yulu, deputy governor of People’s Bank of China, struck a less positive stance in his remarks to the IMF policy committee, contending that rising trade protectionism in the form of punitive tariffs had already begun to disrupt global supply changes.

“The protectionism of some countries has harmed mutual trust among countries, limited the scope for multilateral cooperation and impeded the willingness to achieve it,” he said.

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