France regrets G20 meeting outcome on trade, climate change

Posted March 19, 2017

Conspicuous by its absence was the phrase "we will resist all forms of protectionism" that was contained in the communique from the last meeting of the group in China in July 2016.

Mnuchin and Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie and central bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting in Baden-Baden, one of the G-20 officials said.

At a meeting of policymakers from the Group of 20 major economies around the world on Friday and Saturday, they were forced to drop their long-standing commitment "to resist all kinds of protectionism" in their communiqué because of USA opposition.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Merkel also took the unusual step of stressing their commitment to free trade ahead of the G20 meeting.

Host German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble struck a conciliatory tone, suggesting that Mnuchin was not empowered to act on some issues.

Cairo - Amidst rising fears of a trade war, a result of the United States' "America First" policy, the G20 forum convened for two days, holding sessions that end today in German town of Baden-Baden.

'Having said that, we want to re-examine certain agreements.

"I understand what the president's desire is and his policies and I negotiated them from here, and we couldn't be happier with the outcome", he said.

He said the Trump administration would be looking at relationships where the U.S. was buying more than it could sell to its partner, and would be more aggressive in seeking enforcement of existing rules that would benefit the nation's workers through the Geneva-based World Trade Organization.

The G-20 groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the USA and the European Union.

"The lack of a rejection of protectionism is a clear breach of tradition". In a reversal of roles, Beijing has been defending free trade and urging Washington to refrain from protectionist measures.

That stance has grated Washington's partners, who are trying to persuade US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to renew a long-standing G20 anti-protectionism commitment and uphold an worldwide deal on climate won only after years of painful negotiations.

A source close to the talks told AFP that sticking points remained on trade and climate change funding as the gathering got underway on Friday. "We need to make sure we bring unity to the global market". "But it wasn't clear what one or another meant by that".

The G20 might also drop their explicit endorsement to finance counter climate change efforts, the draft showed.

The G-20 groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.