Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

G20 leaders agree on summit statement that's tough on trade

G20 leaders agree on summit statement that's tough on trade

Leaders of the world's largest economic powers have agreed to overhaul the global body that regulates trade disputes, but they faced resistance from US President Donald Trump over the Paris accord on climate change. "I think it is very important to come together, the different countries around the world, and to have a common strategy for a fair globalization, which means a globalization that leaves no one behind". European Union officials said the US was the main holdout on almost every issue.

The climate accords sets targets for countries to reduce carbon emissions to fight global warming and keep global temperatures under 2 C. President Donald Trump announced in June 2017 that the USA was immediately canceling its participation in the accords.

But for financial markets, the weekend's main course comes after the summit when Trump is due to sit down to dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires.

Mr Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs on January 1 on 200 billion dollars in Chinese goods.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina-Leaders of the world's top economies agreed for the first time to reform the 23-year-old World Trade Organization (WTO), backing President Donald Trump who has repeatedly called the organization a "disaster".

The ceasefire will buy time for the two countries to work out their differences in a dispute over Beijing's aggressive drive to supplant U.S. technological dominance.

Nor was there mention of the concern many leaders feel about the brutal killing of columnist and critic Jamal Khashoggi in October in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

As soon as he arrived, bin Salman was confronted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who pressed him on the Khashoggi investigation and the Saudi-backed war in Yemen. Macron also said that he and the crown prince also discussed oil prices.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged British Prime Minster Theresa May to ensure stability as Britain leaves the European Union and asked her to do what she could to avoid a "no deal" Brexit. According to Erdogan the crown prince's response was that Saudi Arabia can not be blamed unless the crime is proven, something the Turkish leader called "unbelievable". He was not shunned, and on the gathering's first day, he and Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a hearty grip-and-grin as the two seemingly revelled in their shared status as relative outcasts.

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Argentina's president Mauricio Macri.

Russian Federation and Ukraine have traded blame over the incident _ which Trump cited in canceling a much-awaited meeting with Putin at the G-20.

Mr Putin tried to convince Mr Trump and the leaders of France and Germany that Russia's actions were justified - even pulling out a piece of paper and drawing a map of the disputed area to make his point.

One EU official told reporters that the G-20 summit's final statement is likely to reflect 19 members supporting the Paris climate accord with the US stating its opposition to it. "In a lot of areas it's falling short", said the US official, who asked not to be identified because of the confidential nature of the talks.

Still, environmental groups praised the statement as welcome news. It also notes a recent United Nations report that warned damage from global warming will be much worse than previously feared, and expresses support for an upcoming United Nations climate meeting in Poland meant to nail down how countries will meet promises made in the Paris accord. Democrats and their allies in the labour movement are already demanding changes.

"There is an urgent need to de-escalate trade tensions, reverse recent tariff increases and modernize the rules-based multilateral trade system", she said.

Although a joint communique has been signed, leaders skirted around numerous contentious issues.

Thomas Bernes, senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Canada and a former G20 negotiator, also said that objections from Turkey and the Saudis had contributed to holding up the final communique. "This is clearly a retrograde step forced by United States intransigence".

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