But U.S. goes its own way on global warming
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
Chinese leader Xi Jinping, left, and President Donald Trump’s dinner came amid a trade dispute between the two nations.