BADEN-BADEN, Germany—World finance chiefs clashed Friday over the future of global trade, worried that protectionist tendencies could tilt the global economy back into the doldrums and stir up cross-border tensions.
The confrontation at a two-day meeting of finance ministers of the Group of 20 economies pitted the U.S., which is seeking to rectify what it says is an off-kilter global trading system, against a bloc of advanced and emerging market countries attempting to head off what they see as President Donald Trump’s protectionist agenda.
“We are still in the process of finding a solution for the obvious and known different views,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said at the start of the meeting in this ritzy spa town.
In dispute is the wording of a joint statement that the finance ministers are scheduled to adopt on Saturday and is meant to define the nature of their trade relationships.
Europe, China and Brazil want the G-20 to preserve current language calling for a rejection of protectionism “in all its forms.” They see that formulation as a way to hem in the economic nationalism advocated by President Donald Trump’s “America First” platform.