Mnuchin getting questions on tax reform at G7 meeting

Steve Mnuchin in 90 seconds
Steve Mnuchin in 90 seconds

The world has a question for the Trump administration: How are things going with Washington's plans to overhaul taxes?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met one-on-one with finance officials from Canada, Germany and Japan on Friday, as a conference of G7 nations got underway in Bari, Italy. He met with his Italian counterpart on Thursday and will sit down with U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond on Saturday.

A senior Treasury official said Mnuchin's finance counterparts haven't been "shy about asking direct questions" about Trump's plans to reform the U.S. tax code. He described the overall tenor of conversations to be "quite positive."

The questions have centered on when Congress is likely to move forward with an overhaul plan and what it might look like, the senior official said.

Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, reiterated to counterparts the administration's hope for Congress to pass a reform bill this year, according to the senior official.

Others topics for discussion have included strengthening cybersecurity, reaching an agreement on international tax rules, and countering terrorism financing.

Italian G7 officials said Trump's tax proposal is not part of the weekend's agenda, but foreign counterparts are following developments in Washington very closely.

Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy's minister of economy and finance, said he is watching the U.S. approach "closely" for lessons other countries can use in reforming their tax codes.

Related: Trump says I might release tax returns - when I'm out of office

Tax policy can act as an important driver of economic growth -- a top priority for the world's largest countries and multinational organizations like the International Monetary Fund.

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

"We need a strong United States to lead the global economy and global politics in a sustainable way," said Schaeuble.

Italian officials also said it's unclear whether G7 finance ministers will have anything specific to say on tax reform at the end of their meeting on Saturday.

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