July 17, 2019 / 11:32 PM / a month ago

U.S. plans different approach in leading G7 in 2020: White House official

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stalks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before a meeting during the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Chantilly, near Paris, France, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration plans to adopt shorter communiques and generally revamp how the Group of Seven rich nations does its work when the United States leads the body in 2020, a White House adviser said.

Kelly Ann Shaw, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump for international economic affairs, said the White House views multilateral groups like the G7 as “incredibly useful” but believed they had been saddled with too many disparate issues.

“There’s this expectation that they are going to continue to grow and address more and more problems. They are not really designed for that,” Shaw told an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

Shaw said the Trump administration was looking at what changes could be made during the year that the United States runs the group.

The G7 groups the seven largest advanced economies in the world - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. It is currently led by France, which will host a summit of leaders from the seven countries in August.

Trump, who is generally skeptical about multilateral organizations, upended the 2018 summit in Canada when he became angry with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left early, and instructed his officials not to endorse a joint communique.

Shaw, who also serves as deputy director of the National Economic Council, said that the multilateral group needs to be smaller and more nimble: “The G7 and the G20 should be more focused in what they are seeking to address,” Shaw said.

She rejected the idea that the Trump administration was distancing itself from networks like the G7 and G20, adding her view that these groups functioned well because they did not have large staffs and a permanent secretariat.

Reporting by Jonas EkblomEditing by Andrea Shalal and Cynthia Osterman

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