The Latest: World Bank approves increase in lending capacity

Foreground from left, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso and U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond sit with others for the group photo of International Monetary Fund governors at the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, on Saturday, April 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

World Bank approves $13 billion increase in its lending capacity tied to reforms

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the global finance meetings in Washington (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

The World Bank's policy committee has approved a $13 billion increase in the bank's lending capacity.

The proposal was approved late Saturday by the World Bank's Development Committee, which sets policies for the 189-nation lending agency. The increase in lending capacity was tied to a package of lending reforms that had been sought by the United States.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim hailed the action as a demonstration of "renewed confidence in global cooperation."

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1:10 p.m.

The International Monetary Fund's policymaking committee says a strong world economy is threatened by increasing tension over trade and a heavy global debt load.

Officials say longer-term global prospects are clouded by sluggish productivity growth and aging populations in wealthy countries.

Policymakers say in a statement at the end of three days of meetings that countries should take advantage of the broadest-based expansion in a decade and enact reforms that will make their economies more efficient. And cutting government debts is urged.

The IMF expects the world economy to grow 3.9 percent this year and next — that would be the fastest since 2011.

But an intensifying dispute between the U.S. and China over Beijing's aggressive attempt to challenge U.S. technological dominance has raised the prospect of a trade war that could drag down worldwide growth.

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1 p.m.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) says he's had a number of discussions with his counterparts — during global finance meetings in Washington — that have dealt with President Donald Trump's "America First" trade policies.

Mnuchin says he's tried to make clear that the United States isn't trying to erect protectionist barriers through its proposals to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and up to $150 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Mnuchin says Trump "has been very clear on what on what our objectives are. We are looking for reciprocal treatment."

He says some of his one-on-one talks concerned requests for exemptions from the U.S. tariffs. He says he's considering making a trip soon to China.

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11:25 a.m.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) is urging the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to pursue reforms that will support Trump administration foreign policy initiatives.

Mnuchin says the World Bank needs to continue to shift its lending from fast-growing developing countries such as China to poorer nations.

He says in a speech prepared for the World Bank's policy committee that the bank should direct its resources at "poorer borrowers and away from countries better able to finance their own development objectives."

Mnuchin cites progress in achieving changes at the World Bank that the U.S. put forward last year, but says more needs to be done.

The administration's America First trade policies put it the U.S. at odds with other countries at this weekend's global finance meetings in Washington.

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12:50 a.m.

The United States is resisting pressure to back off President Donald Trump's tough America First trade policy at a meeting of global finance leaders worried about the threat of a damaging trade war.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) charged that "unfair global trade practices impede stronger U.S. and global growth, acting as a persistent drag on the global economy." He urged the International Monetary Fund to do more to combat unfair trade practices.

Mnuchin issued the comments Friday during the spring meetings of the 189-country IMF and its sister lending agency, the World Bank. The three days of meetings wrap up Saturday.

Other countries have used the gathering to protest Trump's protectionist trade policies, which mark a reversal of seven decades of U.S. support for ever-freer global commerce.

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