Published: 2017-04-20 21:23:41 BdST
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings bring the two multilateral institutions' 189 members face-to-face with Trump's "America First" agenda for the first time, just two blocks from the White House.
"These meetings will all be about Trump and the implications of his policies for the international agenda," said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board official who is now with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian think-tank.
He added that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde is aiming to "socialise" the new administration to the IMF's agenda and influence its policy choices.
The IMF in particular has sounded warnings against Trump's plans to shrink US trade deficits with potential measures to restrict imports, arguing in its latest economic forecasts that protectionist policies would crimp global growth that is starting to gain traction.
Trump administration officials are now pushing back against such warnings by arguing that other countries are more protectionist than the United States.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim cups his ear as he listens to a question by a reporter during a press briefing to open the IMF and World Bank's 2017 Annual Spring Meetings in Washington, US April 20, 2017. Reuters
In addition to warnings on trade, the IMF on Wednesday unveiled two studies pointing out dangers from fiscal proposals that Trump is considering. These included warnings that his tax reform ideas could fuel financial risk-taking and raise public debt enough to hurt growth.
Making tax reforms "in a way that does not increase the deficit is better for growth," added IMF fiscal affairs director Vitor Gaspar.
The advice may simply be ignored, especially after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last month insisted that an anti-protectionism pledge be dropped from a Group of 20 communiqué issued in Baden-Baden, Germany, said Eswar Prasad, former head of the IMF's China department.
"The IMF has little leverage since its limited toolkit of analysis-based advice, persuasion, and peer pressure is unlikely to have much of an impact on this administration's policies," said Prasad, now an international trade professor at Cornell University.
Mnuchin's decision against naming China a currency manipulator last week removed one concern for the IMF ahead of the meeting.
Lagarde also noted on Wednesday that the IMF would listen to all of its members, and work for "free and fair" trade. Lagarde is set to interview Mnuchin on stage during the meetings.