G-7 nations seek ways to make growth help more people

"We reaffirm our existing G7 exchange rate commitments to market-determined exchange rates and to consult closely in regard to actions in foreign exchange markets", it said.

Aso made the remarks when asked whether he shared the view by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that other G7 countries are growing comfortable with U.S. policies.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Friday he would convey in his meeting with Mnuchin that the world needs US leadership to help drive global growth.

But ministers from the other G7 countries made it clear they did not share the U.S. secretary's view.

Shelving differing views on protectionism, the G-7 finance chiefs showed unity on the fight against inequality, which - together with populist anger at trade, globalization and manufacturing job losses - fueled Trump's ascent to the USA presidency, played a role in Britain's decision to exit the European Union, and propelled an antiglobalizm candidate into the French presidential runoff vote earlier this month.

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Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said there was a "light breeze" of optimism within the G7 about the recovering global economy after years of sluggish growth following the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met behind closed doors in the afternoon, while an official ceremony to welcome the other participants was scheduled at the Petruzzelli theatre in the evening.

Finance ministers meeting in the Italian port of Bari, including Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble, sought to draw in the US Treasury Secretary toward the previous consensus on free trade, despite a formal agenda that avoided pursuing that too explicitly by focusing on "inclusive growth".

European G7 officials complain that no-one knows what the United States means by "fair trade" and that the only way to establish fairness was by sticking to the rules of the World Trade Organisation - a multilateral framework.

However, the G7 promised to step up their work to try to prevent repetitions of the assault which leveraged hacking tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, infecting tens of thousands of computers.

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A senior finance ministry official added that uncertainties remain over USA policies including monetary policy but the biggest source of uncertainty lies in tax reform.

Attention also focused on Trump's plans to cut US corporate taxes.

He dropped, however, a controversial proposal of a "border-adjustment" tax on imports as a way to offset revenue losses resulting from tax cuts.

He also reiterated the promise for tax reform in the United States, telling G7 ministers it remains a goal by the end of the year. European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he hoped Trump would not abandon multilateralism and free trade.

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