Leaders from the world’s leading economies kick off the Group of 20 summit with an official agenda of development, infrastructure and investment. That agenda is overshadowed by tensions over the US-China trade and the conflict over Ukraine. (Nov. 30)
BUENOS AIRES – President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a joint statement following the Group of 20 summit in which the world’s leaders affirmed a commitment to reform global trade but disagreed with the United States on the issue of climate change.
Nineteen of the group’s members committed to implementing the Paris climate accord, but the statement noted the United States reiterated its decision to withdraw from the agreement and affirmed “its strong commitment to economic growth.”
A senior White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the U.S. position on the Paris agreement was well-known and so the document’s language should not have come as surprise. Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement last year, honoring a campaign pledge.
“There really wasn’t any disputing that the U.S. was going to recognize its position,” the official said. “But what was interesting is that this was one of the last issues to close because the countries who typically might agree couldn’t agree with each other. What you’re starting to see is you’re seeing a little bit of the coalition fraying.”
In a win for the Trump administration, the statement acknowledged flaws in the world trading system and called for reforming the World Trade Organization. Trump and other White House officials have longed argued the WTO disadvantages the U.S. in trade disputes.
“The headline story is on trade reform,” the senior administration official said. “For the first time ever, the G-20 recognized the WTO is currently falling short of meeting its objectives and that it’s in need of reform.”
Applause rose up in the hall Saturday as the leaders signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit. The non-binding agreement was reached after difficult all-nIght talks by diplomats.
Contributing: Associated Press