G7 Finance Ministers Close Ranks as Tensions with Russia and China Fester

Top finance officials from the world’s advanced economies moved closer to an agreement on Saturday over how to use Russia’s frozen central bank assets to aid Ukraine and pledged to unite against China’s dumping of cheap exports into their markets, aiming to marshal their economic might to tackle twin crises weighing on the global economy.

The embrace of more ambitious sanctions and protectionism came as finance ministers from the Group of 7 nations gathered for three days of meetings in Stresa, Italy. The proposals under consideration could deepen the divide between the alliance of wealthy western economies and Russia, China and their allies, worsening a global fragmentation that has worried economists.

Efforts by the G7 to influence the two powerful adversaries have had limited success in recent years but rich countries are making renewed push to test the limits of their combined economic power.

In a joint statement, or communique, that was set to be released on Saturday, policymakers said they would stay united on both fronts as geopolitical crises and trade tensions have emerged as the biggest threats to the global economy.

“We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine,” the statement, which was reviewed by The New York Times, said.

Regarding China, the finance ministers expressed concern about its “comprehensive use of nonmarket policies and practices that undermines our workers, industries, and economic resilience.” They agreed to monitor the negative effects of China’s overcapacity and “consider taking steps to ensure a level playing field.”

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