Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

G20 statement drops anti-protectionism, climate change clauses

G20 statement drops anti-protectionism, climate change clauses

"We believe in free trade", he said, adding however that "balanced trade needs to be what's good for us and what's good for other people, a win-win situation".

He said it was "important to create a comfort zone" where leaders could have their first discussions with the new administration, "to make them feel that this is a place where we can talk, we can ventilate the areas where we have common ground and the areas where we may have differences".

That revision saw decade-old references for G20 nations to "resist all forms of protectionism" erased in a "watered-down" communique presented after negotiations in Baden-Baden.

Trump has repeatedly emphasized that the USA needs a tougher approach to trade that would put American workers and companies first.

However, she also seemed to acknowledge Trump's "America First" policies were a new fact of life on the worldwide stage.

The rhetoric has alarmed key trading partners, including export giants China and Germany. "The very first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, argued in 1790 that "America should impose tariffs to protect its 'infant industries"'".

In the new U.S. administration's biggest clash yet with the worldwide community, G-20 finance chiefs also removed from their statement a pledge to finance the fight against climate change, an anticipated outcome after U.S. President Donald Trump called global warming a "hoax".

Reuters also points out another potential win for Trump as the communique will also drop a reference, used by the G20 a year ago, on the readiness to finance climate change as agreed in Paris in 2015 because of opposition from the United States and Saudi Arabia.

"It is a odd world when Brazil and China lecture the US on free trade", the official said. In fact, "roughly 45 percent of [Germany's] gross domestic product" comes from exports.

"The weak wording on trade is a defeat for the German G20 presidency", Ifo economist Gabriel Felbermayr told Reuters. Germany now holds the G20 presidency.

The other major topic at this G20 meeting in Germany was climate change.

G20 also walked back on a pledge to support climate change finance, an anticipated outcome after Trump called climate change a "hoax". This had been a pledge strongly supported by President Trump's predecessor, former USA president Barack Obama.

The treasury chief himself acknowledged that environmental issues such as the 2015 Paris agreement were "not in my track". He later commented further on the issue, making a somewhat vague and non-committal statement.

The Hamburg summit is to be chaired by Merkel and is expected to be attended by Trump.

Like this: