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G20 Summit declaration: multilateral trading system ‘falling short’ and needs fixing

BUENOS AIRES: The G20 Summit of leaders of the world’s most powerful nations ended in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, with a consensus for “fair and sustainable development through an agenda that is people-centred, inclusive and forward-looking.”
The official leaders’ declaration stressed their common goals in the future of work, infrastructure for development, a sustainable food future and a gender-mainstreaming strategy.

“We have addressed our agenda promoting dialogue and the search for common ground. Building consensus requires the commitment of the society as a whole,” the declaration read.

But it stopped short of agreement on the two biggest challenges facing the G20: The future of world trade and climate change.

On these issues, US President Donald Trump has taken a stance not shared by most of the other leaders.

The declaration struck a neutral formula on trade, reading: “We welcome the strong global economic growth while recognizing it has been increasingly less synchronized between countries and some of the key risks, including financial vulnerabilities and geopolitical concerns, have partially materialized. We also note current trade issues.”

The declaration sought to reconcile the US position with the majority opinion. “International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development,” it said. “We recognize the contribution that the multilateral trading system has made to that end. The system is currently falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement,” the declaration added, calling for further reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On climate, the leaders said: “A strong economy and a healthy planet are mutually reinforcing… We recognize the importance of comprehensive adaptation strategies, including investment in infrastructure that is resilient to extreme weather events and disasters.”

They declared the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which most countries in the world have signed, to be “irreversible.”

The declaration thanked Argentina for hosting the G20, and the leaders said they look forward to the next scheduled meetings, in Japan next year and Saudi Arabia in 2020.

The Kingdom played a full role in the Buenos Aires summit, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting world leaders of the UK, China, Indonesia and South Africa, among others.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jaadan took part in the G20 Investor Forum, organized by the World Bank and held on the sidelines of the main event with a view to promoting long-term sustainable investments.

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