Finance officials from the world's largest economies called for "further dialogue and actions on trade" amid fears that protectionist sentiment is growing and spreading around the globe, Reuters reported.
The communique from the G-20 finance ministers and central bankers came at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Buenos Aires. The statement also comes just days before U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs take effect and with media reports suggesting that President Donald Trump is about to impose levies of as much as $60 billion on Chinese imports.
Many G-20 representatives sought to preserve language produced at the group's Hamburg Summit, signed by Trump in July 2017, which urged leaders to fight protectionism and all unfair trade practices, according to the report. The Hamburg statement also called on the G-20 leaders to "recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments" — language that allows the U.S. to argue its case in favor of tariffs.
The world leaders reiterated their vow to avoid competitive devaluations and refrain from targeting foreign exchange rates to benefit exports. In addition, they added new language on exchange rates, focusing on flexibility and stability.
"Strong fundamentals, sound policies, and a resilient international monetary system are essential to the stability of exchange rates, contributing to strong and sustainable growth and investment," the statement reportedly said. "Flexible exchange rates, where feasible, can serve as a shock absorber."
The communique also stressed continued international monitoring of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the risks they pose to market integrity, and consumer and investor protections. The U.S. has expressed interest in working with G-20 leaders to ensure that cryptocurrencies do not become the new "Swiss bank account."