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G-20 leaders agree to repair trade system, not climate change



(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) – Leaders of the group of 20 agreed on Saturday to repair the world trade system after difficult nighttime talks in the Argentine capital, but only 19 agreed to support the Paris Agreement to combat climate change You with the United States the lonely holdout.

The summit's official statement recognizes shortcomings in global trade and calls for reform of the World Trade Organization. However, the word "protectionism" is not mentioned after the negotiators said that they encountered resistance from the United States.

In the Summit Hall, applause broke out when leaders, including US President Donald Trump, had signed a final statement at the end of a two-day summit.

The non-binding agreement was reached after the diplomats entered on Saturday night and in daylight, amid deep divisions between the member states. European Union officials said that the United States played the leading role in almost all issues. Trump has criticized the WTO and pursued an aggressive trade policy aimed at China and the EU.

But China has also backed down talks about steel, South Africa has contradicted the language in trade, Australia did not want the statement for migration to be soft, and Turkey fears it would push climate change too far the officials ,

A senior White House official said the joint statement met many of the US goals and emphasized that it also included a language on WTO reform. The official also mentioned other elements such as language for the development of the work force and the economic development of women, as well as the commitment of China to carry out infrastructure financing to "transparent conditions".

According to the official, the language of the climate was necessary for the signing of Washington Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia were sympathetic to the US position, but eventually stayed with the other countries.

Faced with the trade tensions between the US and China that dominated the summit, Europeans tried to play mediators. They have also dropped their expectations and ignored the increasing protectionism that is mainly aimed at Trump.

The last language of the Declaration states that 1

9 states that have signed the Paris Agreement reaffirm their commitment The US reaffirms their decision to withdraw. A recent UN report also notes that the global warming warning will be much worse than previously feared, and reiterates its support for a forthcoming UN climate change meeting in Poland to determine how countries will tackle the issue commitments made in the Paris Agreement.

Regarding global trade, the declaration supports the fact that the 20 countries support multilateral trade, but acknowledges that the current system is not functioning and that "a reform of the WTO to improve its functioning" is needed.

The US negotiator said that talking too much about it would have been a deal breaker for Trump. They developed a "minimalist" language that recognizes the growing migrant flows and recognizes the importance of joint efforts to help refugees and solve the problems that compel them to flee.

The Declaration also shows a commitment to a "rules-based international order" despite Trump's rejection of many of these rules.

"There were times when we thought everything was lost. "A European official said:" Moments in which we spent two hours for a sentence.

The officials talked about condition of anonymity to discuss the closed door negotiations.

Thomas Bernes of the Canada-based Center for International Governance Innovation, who held leading positions with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Canadian government , 20 had turned "on the street" at the summit and could not really fix the trade.The US was out of balance in terms of migration and climate change and blocked a meaningful agreement on these issues.

"Buried instead the leaders made their differences in obscure language and dropped the language to combat the protectionism that was contained in every state. 20 communique since the first Summit of Heads of State and Government, "he added. "This is clearly a declining step, forced by the intransigence of the United States."

"The question is whether we bury the G-20," added Bernes. "This is certainly a big hit on the credibility of the G-20 to take a determined leadership in tackling global issues."

Perhaps surprisingly, Russia was a country considered particularly constructive, EU officials said. Despite tensions over its military action against Ukraine and political interference abroad, Russia supports international trade and climate efforts.

Although a statement is not legally enforceable, Europeans see this as proof that the G-20 is still relevant. Multilateralism still works.

"Everyone agrees that the WTO should be reformed," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. "This is an important agreement."

"We will send out a clear signal – at least most of us" – for the success of the global climate talks starting in Poland on Sunday, Merkel added.

Merkel's spokesman said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she also expressed concern over increasing tensions in the Strait of Kerch off the Crimea and urged "freedom of navigation into the Sea of ​​Azov".

Last weekend, Russia confiscated three Ukrainian naval ships Their crews in an incident escalated a tug-of-war that began in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and supported separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Germany and France have tried to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, said the spokesman Steffen Seibert Merkel and Putin agree that the four countries should conduct further discussions on "consultant level".

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were scheduled to meet on Saturday after the summit ended. Their countries are involved in an escalating trade war in which new US tariffs on China goods will come into force in one month.

"The trade war between the US and China does not favor international trade. … A fight between two big players is no use, "said Dante Sica, Argentina's Minister of Production and Labor. "If they can start to agree, this would be a good signal that would reduce the impact on international trade."

Concluding remarks by the Summit and President of Argentina Mauricio Macri said that countries had "overcome a number of challenges" "To reach the agreement."

"We have agreed on a statement that would reinforce the need for recovery Trade and a revitalization of the WTO. "We reassure everyone about climate change," said Macri.

The next G20 summit will take place in June 2019 in Osaka, Japan.

Contact us at editors@time.com


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