A look at what hap­pened at the G-20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina

The Myanmar Times - - World -

LEAD­ERS of the world’s largest eco­nomic powers have agreed to over­haul the global body that reg­u­lates trade disputes, but they faced resistance from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over the Paris ac­cord on cli­mate change.

Here are some of the main de­vel­op­ments at the Group of 20 sum­mit, which wrapped up Satur­day:

World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion All G-20 lead­ers called for reforming the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the is­sue will be dis­cussed dur­ing the group’s next sum­mit in Osaka, Ja­pan, in June. The gath­er­ing’s fi­nal state­ment, how­ever, did not men­tion pro­tec­tion­ism af­ter ne­go­tia­tors said the US ob­jected to the word­ing. Trump has crit­i­cized the WTO and taken ag­gres­sive trade poli­cies tar­get­ing China and the Euro­pean Union.

US-China trade war Fi­nan­cial mar­kets will be cheered by the an­nounce­ment that Trump and Chines Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping agreed at a din­ner af­ter the sum­mit to have a 90-day truce in their trade bat­tle.

Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tar­iffs Jan­uary 1 on US$200 bil­lion in Chi­nese goods. Xi agreed to buy a “not yet agreed upon, but very sub­stan­tial amount of agri­cul­tural, en­ergy, in­dus­trial” and other prod­ucts from the United States to re­duce Amer­ica’s huge trade deficit with China, the White House said.

The cease-fire will buy time for the two coun­tries to work out their dif­fer­ences in a dis­pute over Beijing’s ag­gres­sive drive to sup­plant US tech­no­log­i­cal dom­i­nance.

Prince un­der pres­sure There were some awk­ward mo­ments for Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man as some lead­ers called him out over the grue­some Oc­to­ber killing of dis­si­dent Saudi news­pa­per colum­nist Ja­mal Khashoggi at the coun­try’s con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron was cap­tured on video seem­ingly lec­tur­ing bin Sal­man, at one point be­ing heard say­ing “I am wor­ried,” “you never lis­ten to me,” and “I am a man of my word.” Macron said the crown prince only “took note” of his con­cerns.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May also said she pressed bin Sal­man. But it wasn’t all bad for bin Sal­man.

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 rev­eled in their shared sta­tus as rel­a­tive out­casts.

Ukraine con­flict West­ern lead­ers con­fronted Putin over Rus­sia’s re­cent seizure of Ukrainian naval ves­sels and crews, but the diplo­matic pres­sure didn’t seem to bring ei­ther side closer to solv­ing the con­flict. Rus­sia and Ukraine have ac­cused each other of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for the stand­off.

Trump cited Rus­sia’s ac­tions as the rea­son that he can­celed a planned meet­ing with Putin on the side­lines of the sum­mit. EU Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk sharply crit­i­cised “Rus­sia’s ag­gres­sion” against Ukraine.

Putin tried to con­vince 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.

Cli­mate change The fi­nal com­mu­nique signed by all 20 mem­ber na­tions said 19 of them reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to the Paris cli­mate ac­cord. The only hold­out was the US, which has with­drawn from the pact un­der Trump.

NAFTA Af­ter two years of ne­go­ti­a­tions, Trump signed a re­vised North Amer­i­can trade pact with the lead­ers of Canada and Mex­ico on the side­lines of the sum­mit.

The deal is meant to re­place the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, which Trump long den­i­grated as a “dis­as­ter.”

Low ex­pec­ta­tions low out­put Even the host coun­try had low­ered ex­pec­ta­tions ahead of the sum­mit, say­ing be­fore the gath­er­ing started that it might not be pos­si­ble to reach a con­sen­sus for a fi­nal state­ment.

Af­ter sleep­less days of round-the­clock talks by diplo­mats, a com­mu­nique was pro­duced, but an­a­lysts said lead­ers merely signed a watered down state­ment that skirted trade and other con­tentious is­sues. – AP

Photo: As­so­ci­ated Press

Saudi Ara­bia’s Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, left, and Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin speak at the start of the G20 sum­mit in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina on Fri­day.

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