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Group of 20 finance chiefs remained at odds as they met in Germany, with China leading a defense of the existing rules-based system and the U.S. calling for a recognition that trade must be fair.

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“China has been able to do well based on the multilateral system; it has been able to leverage the gray areas,” said Dominico Lombardi, director of global economy at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario. “The Trump administration is for a level trading field. In the case of China, there are complaints of subsidies so ‘fair’ trade is what Washington wants to push...

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