The Group of 20 major world economies should reaffirm its commitment to open trade when it meets in mid-March, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday, after rumors it may drop a reference to opposing protectionism.
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Draghi also said the G20 should also retain its commitment to not using exchange rates to enhance competitiveness.
"It's quite important that the G20 reaffirms this commitment," Draghi said at a news conference after the ECB's policy meeting.
"I was commenting before on the commitments concerning the exchange rates. I think I can say the same about the commitments of keeping open trade. They have been the pillars of prosperity for many, many years -- many decades," he said.
An early draft of the communique for the March 17-18 meeting suggested the G20 finance ministers and central bankers may no longer explicitly reject protectionism or competitive currency devaluations, after the U.S. accused some trade partners, including Germany, of exploiting a weak currency.
Asked about the communique, Draghi said: "I know of the rumors but I don't know what to say about that, where they come from, whether they're true or not."
Finance ministers and central bank heads from the G20 will meet on March 17-18 in the German town of Baden Baden to discuss the world economy.
(Writing by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Catherine Evans)