The meeting of the G-20 ended on Saturday in Buenos Aires, the Argentina capital, with 19countries agreeing to back the Paris accord on climate change, while the U.S. happened to be the only country that withdrew from the agreement. All the leaders of the Group of 20 agreed on fixing issues concerning migration and the world trading system. They reached an agreement after a long diplomatic discussion.
There were areas of disagreement between the G20 nations, leading to prolonged discussions. In fact, trade tensions between the U.S and China dominated the summit. The Europeans acted mainly as a mediator between the two power blocks.
For instance, European Union officials accused the US as being the major holdout on many issues. On the other hand, President Trump also criticized the WTO on many grounds concerning trade. The U.S is known to have taken tough trade policies targeting China and the EU. China, however, showed a strong stance on the talks concerning steel. While Australia wants a strong statement on migration, Turkey argued it would be pushing too far if the country is accepting proposed conditions on climate change.
The final statement regarding climate change states that 19 countries which are signatories to the Paris accord restated their pledge to the agreement, while the U.S. is the only nation that decided to withdraw.
On the issue of global trade, the final statement states that the 20 nations agreed on multilateral trade. But, they all acknowledge the fact that the current system has not been working and requires fixing through “the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning.”
The statement on migration states that all member countries agreed on growing migrant flows and the importance of making collective efforts to help refugees as well as deal with issues that affect them.
The final statement further shows commitment to a “rules-based international order,” despite Trump’s objection to many of those rules.
However, Thomas Bernes, the Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation, and a leader with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Canadian government believed that the G-20 had “veered all over the road” at the summit and had failed to truly fix trade.
According to him, “Instead, leaders buried their differences in obscure language and dropped language to fight protectionism, which had been included in every G-20 communiqué since the leaders’ first summit,” he said. “This is clearly a retrograde step forced by United Statesintransigence,” he continued.
“The question is whether we are burying the G-20 in the process,” Bernes added. “Certainly this is a big blow to the integrity of the G-20 to provide competent leadership in addressing global problems,” he concluded.
One surprising thing at the weekend summit, however, was the particularly constructive roleplayed by Russia. Despite the ongoing tensions concerning its military actions on Ukraine and its political meddling abroad, Russia agreed to all international efforts on trade and climate.