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Pressed by Trump, G20 Final Declaration Does not Condemn Economic Protectionism

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Contrary to the usual, communiqué from the finance ministers of the world’s major economies leaves out a fight against “protectionism in all its forms”

The final declaration of the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting, released on Saturday, excludes the traditional condemnation of economic protectionism and support for the Paris Climate Agreement, reflecting the reluctance of the US government over the two issues. “We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies,” said the statement negotiated between the participants, who have been meeting since Friday in Baden-Baden, a city in western Germany.

According to several sources heard by the French news agency AFP, the new administration of the United States, led by Donald Trump, who has already taken hostile positions in the face of free trade and the fight against global warming, has prevented the consensus between these two themes in the talks between the ministers and councilors gathered on this occasion, which marks the first major multilateral meeting of the new US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin.

France, by the voice of its Minister of Finance, Michel Sapin, lamented the disagreement on these two matters.
“I regret that our discussions today have been unable to reach a satisfactory position on these two absolutely key priorities in the world today and on which France wants the G20 to continue to act firmly and in a concerted fashion,” he stressed. the French official.

For its part, Germany, which holds the presidency of the G20, admitted that at the meeting of the finance ministers, it was not possible to reach an agreement on the future of trade relations, even if its importance was underlined. “We have agreed on the importance of international trade, but we have not reached a consensus on the future of trade relations,” Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann told the forum’s final press conference. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was quoted by the Spanish news agency Efe as saying that some statements have been made that, although not very concrete, show the common commitment to fair trade. “We have come to declarations with which we do not advance much,

The German government added that in certain meetings “you can not ask too much from some of the partners”, saying that the US Treasury Secretary did not have a mandate to accept certain statements about trade. It was already expected that the US President’s trade policy and the tension in international relations due to the situation in countries like Turkey and Russia should interfere with the agenda of the German G20 presidency.

The G20 group includes the United States, China, India, EU, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Germany, Turkey, France, United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa, South Korea, Argentina, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Australia. Spain attends the meeting as a guest. The countries of the group represent about 84% of the world population and approximately 80% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Baden-Baden meeting also includes representatives from various international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)