Finance ministers from the Group of 20 countries meeting in the southern German town of Baden-Baden issued a statement Saturday saying only that countries "are working to strengthen the contribution of trade" to their economies. But Steven Mnuchin could not be moved. "We reiterate our determination to use all policy tools - monetary, fiscal and structural - individually and collectively to achieve our goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, while enhancing economic and financial resilience". Germany, the host of the G20 summit, is reliant on exports to maintain its robust economy.
"We believe in free trade: We are one of the largest markets in the world, we are one of the largest trading partners in the world", Mnuchin said.
G20 finance ministers will probably remove any mention of trade in the final communique as Trump's team pushes for language on fair trade and others stick to the open trade mantra.
The delegations described the approach of their newly confirmed counterpart as level-headed.
Support had also been obtained for the strengthening of the worldwide financial architecture through further work on a global financial safety net with a "strong, quota-based and adequately resourced worldwide Monetary Fund (IMF) at its centre"; operational guidelines for sustainable financing reflecting the responsibilities of borrowers and lenders; and principles for effective coordination between the IMF and multilateral development banks in the case of countries that are seeking financing for macroeconomic vulnerabilities.
Mr Trump has made his position clear on what this work would involve.
Asked about this, Mnuchin said he knows Trump's desires on trade and negotiated them from Baden Baden, adding: "the new language makes sense". Ms Merkel responded that it was the European Union that negotiated on behalf of Germany, but Mr Trump's remark serves as a reminder of the new U.S. administration's scepticism about globalisation. During his campaign, Trump threatened unilateral tariffs on Mexican and Chinese goods and said he would quit the North American Free Trade agreement unless it is renegotiated to his liking. "Because. we are all making judgments about issues, [FOR] which the only thing we know [is that they] will come out different to what we are assuming".
The divergence in America's ideology stands in contrast to the policy followed by the other prominent G20 members.
It is the first meeting between Xiao and Mnuchin.