At the G-20 summit in Argentina, Leaders of the 20 countries agreed to work on the world trade system following long talks. But just 19 of the countries were in agreement to back the Paris accord as Donald Trump remains the only holdout.
The official statement from the summit acknowledges that there are flaws in international commerce and calls for a reformation of the World Trade Organization. But the word ‘protectionism’ is not mentioned as negotiator said that word was resisted by the US.
At the end of the two-day summit, everybody applauded as the leaders of the nations signed the final agreement. An agreement was arrived at after diplomatic talks stretched out into the early hours of the morning. There were some divisions that caused the talks to take so long. Officials of the European Union said that the US was the major holdout on almost every issue. Donald Trump had earlier criticized the World Trade Organization and took aggressive trade policies towards the EU and China.
China also spoke aggressively on Steel and Australia didn’t want the official statement to be so lax on migration. Turkey worried that the state would push too far on climate change and South Africa objected to the language used on trade.
An official for the White House said that the joint statement met a lot of the United State objectives and said they were happy that China committed to transparent infrastructural financing while issues like the economic development of women were well addressed.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey were sympathetic to the United States decision on climate but they signed on along with other countries. Trade tensions between the US and China were a major bone of contention but European countries acted as mediators.
19 countries reiterate their commitment to the Paris Accord. Only the United States stated that it will go by its action to pull back from the Accord. The statement said that the 20 countries supported multilateral trade but stated that the current system needs to be adjusted as it wasn’t working well.
European officials were informed that too much talk about migration would have been a major obstacle for Donald Trump so minimalist language was used. Migrant flows were acknowledged and there was an emphasis on solving the problems that drive refugees to flee and shared efforts to support refugees.
The meeting was deemed a success though there were hiccups. An official said that two hours were spent on just one sentence. Reports also state that the United States blocked agreements on climate change and migration. The obscure language was used to resolve issues and language was used to fight protectionism.
Russia supported international efforts on climate and trade despite military actions on Ukraine and interfering in other countries politically. The Argentine President Mauricio Macri thanked everyone in the closing remarks and said that the countries had overcome some challenges. The next G-20 summit will be held in Osaka, Japan in June 2019.