“If Europe believes in free trade, we’re ready to sign a free trade agreement,” Mnuchin said. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
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The United States sought to woo Europe and Japan with free trade deals Saturday to gain leverage in an escalating tariff war with China, but its overtures faced stiff resistance from France at a G-20 finance ministers meeting dominated by trade tensions. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the gathering of the financial leaders of the world's 20 largest economies in Buenos Aires that he was renewing President Donald Trump's proposal that G-7 allies drop trade barriers between them.French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the European Union would not consider launching trade talks with the United States unless Trump first withdraws the steel and aluminum tariffs, and stands down on a car tariff threat.The world's two largest economies have slapped tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other's goods so far.Mnuchin said that, while there were some "micro" effects such as retaliation against U.S.-produced soybeans, lobsters and bourbon, he did not believe that tariffs would keep the United States from achieving sustained 3 percent growth this year.
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