Italy seeks to reassure US over spending plans

ILE - In this July 22, 2018 file photo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a news conference at the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers

ILE - In this July 22, 2018 file photo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a news conference at the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers

MILAN (AP) — Italy's economy minister has met with the U.S. Treasury Secretary to reassure international partners about Italy's deficit-busting spending plans, which have spread worry through markets and EU institutions.

The Economics Ministry said in a statement Friday that Giovanni Tria told his U.S. counterpart, Steven Mnuchin, during a meeting in Bali that the aim of the 2019 budget is "to reinforce growth in the Italian economy."

The statement said Tria also "underlined the determination to follow a path to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio, and he confirmed the intention to continue constructive dialogue with the EU commission and eurozone countries."

Italy's plans to boost spending to satisfy campaign promises, nudging the deficit to 2.4 percent of GDP, has created concern that the eurozone's third-largest economy won't be able to bring down its high debt.