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Yellen declares end to Trump's global retreat, aims at tax deal

Saleha Mohsin and Christopher Condon, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

Yellen, in her speech, criticized the strategy of President Donald Trump’s administration, decrying four years when the U.S. “isolated ourselves and retreated from the international order that we created.”

“America first must never mean America alone,” she said. “A lack of global leadership and engagement makes our institutions and economy vulnerable.”

This week, Yellen is participating in her first round of meetings as Treasury secretary during the spring IMF and World Bank meetings, being held virtually this year.

During the week, she will meet with finance ministers to discuss climate change, finalize a boost to IMF resources to help poor nations cope with Covid-19, President Joe Biden’s “Made in America tax Plan,” and attend bilateral meetings, including with her Canadian counterpart.

Fiscal Support

In her speech, the Treasury chief also called on other major economies “to continue a strong fiscal effort and avoid withdrawing support too early, to promote a strong recovery and help avoid the emergence of global imbalances.”

 

She highlighted the Biden administration’s plans for sustained economic support, with a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan following the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill signed last month. She said 130 million relief payments have now been sent to individuals and families.

Four years ago, then-President Donald Trump’s newly sworn-in Treasury secretary, Mnuchin, shocked American allies during the administration’s first international meeting with an approach so unilateral that it extended to outright disengagement.

Mnuchin barely spoke a word during closed-door sessions in his first meetings with Group of 20 finance ministers in March 2017, held in Germany. He spoke up during a plenary session just once -- to urge the group to set aside any vows to avoid protectionism.

Yellen’s speech demonstrates a major about-face. “Credibility abroad begins with credibility at home,” she said Monday.

(With assistance by Laura Davison and William Horobin)

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