But U.S. goes its own way on global warm­ing

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - World & nation - By An­gela Charl­ton, Luis An­dres Henao and Peter Orsi As­so­ci­ated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Ar­gentina — Lead­ers of the world’s top economies agreed Satur­day to re­pair the global trad­ing sys­tem as they closed a Group of 20 sum­mit that saw the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion at odds with many al­lies over the Paris ac­cord on climate change and is­sues like mi­gra­tion.

The joint state­ment signed by all 20 mem­ber na­tions said 19 of them reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to the Paris climate ac­cord, with the United States, which with­drew from the pact un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the lone hold­out.

The of­fi­cial com­mu­nique ac­knowl­edged flaws in global com­merce and called for re­form­ing the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, but it didn’t men­tion the word “pro­tec­tion­ism” af­ter ne­go­tia­tors said that they had met re­sis­tance from the United States.

The fi­nal lan­guage of the state­ment says, re­gard­ing climate, that 19 na­tions that are sig­na­to­ries to the Paris ac­cord re­it­er­ate their com­mit­ment to it while the U.S. re­it­er­ates its de­ci­sion to with­draw. It also notes a re­cent U.N. re­port that warned dam­age from global warm­ing will be much worse than pre­vi­ously feared, and ex­presses sup­port for an up­com­ing U.N. climate meet­ing in Poland meant to nail down how coun­tries will meet promis- es made in the Paris ac­cord.

Ap­plause broke out in the con­ven­tion hall as the lead­ers, in­clud­ing Trump, signed off on the state­ment at the end of the two-day sum­mit in the Ar­gen­tine cap­i­tal, the first time it has been held in South Amer­ica.

The non­bind­ing agree­ment was reached af­ter marathon talks by diplo­mats stretched through the night and into day­light, amid divisions be­tween mem­ber na­tions. Eu­ro­pean Union of­fi­cials said the United States was the main hold­out on nearly ev­ery is­sue. Trump has crit­i­cized the WTO and taken ag­gres­sive trade poli­cies tar­get­ing China and the EU.

A se­nior White House of­fi­cial said the joint state­ment meets many U.S. ob­jec­tives and stressed that it in­cludes lan­guage about WTO re­form. The of­fi­cial also noted other el­e­ments such as lan­guage on work­force de­vel­op­ment and women’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and a com­mit­ment by China to do­ing in­fra­struc­ture fi­nanc­ing on “trans­par­ent terms.”

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, the un­usual lan­guage on climate was nec­es­sary for Wash­ing­ton to sign on, and Turkey, Saudi Ara­bia and Rus­sia had appeared sym­pa­thetic to the U.S. position but stayed with the other coun­tries.

Still for Trump, his Satur­day evening meet­ing with Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping was the mar­quee event of the pres­i­dent’s two-day trip to Ar­gentina af­ter he can­celed a for­mal sit-down with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin over mount­ing ten­sions be­tween Rus­sia and Ukraine.

Face-to-face for more than two hours, Trump and Xi en­gaged in din­ner di­plo­macy aimed at re­solv­ing a trade dis­pute be­tween the world’s two big­gest economies that has rat­tled fi­nan­cial mar­kets and threat­ens world eco­nomic growth.

The top White House eco­nomic ad­viser, Larry Kud­low, said the talks went “very well,” but so far, the White House has re­leased no fur­ther de­tails.

What they agreed on — or didn’t — will likely move mar­kets up or down, de­ter­mine whether the world econ­omy gets some re­lief from desta­bi­liz­ing trade ten­sions and cast judg­ment on the wis­dom of the Amer­i­can leader’s hard­nosed trade tac­tics.

Be­fore din­ner, Trump told re­porters that “we’ll be dis­cussing trade and I think at some point we are go­ing to end up do­ing some­thing that is great for China and great for the United States.”

Xi’s re­marks also gave no in­di­ca­tion of whether any break­through was im­mi­nent.

“Only with co­op­er­a­tion be­tween us can we serve the in­ter­ests of world peace

PABLO MARTINEZ MON­SI­VAIS/AP

Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping, left, and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s din­ner came amid a trade dis­pute be­tween the two na­tions.

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