Finance ministers G20 meeting in Germany: Protectionism v free trade, and other issues

UPDATED: Saturday, March 18, 2017 11:47
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Saturday, March 18, 2017 11:47 AM


I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.

Who knew that the G20 finance ministers were meeting in Germany this week? Certainly not me! They're trying to smooth out an economic communique before the "big" G20 meeting of national leaders/ finance ministers/ central bank planners, who will meet in July.

The G20 membership consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. Plus specific "invitees" from Africa etc.

It was at the last G20 meeting that PM Turnbull, in a display of bluster worthy of Mr Trump, vowed to "shirtfront" Putin. Which is why I kind laughed quietly to myself when he got the same treatment, but I digress...

The issues for the G20 as discussed in Germany

G20 ministers warn US against rising protectionism (FT, behind a paywall)

G20 to jointly fight bank sector hacking

Climate change 'out for the time being' from G20 draft

Best article so far

The world's leading finance ministers will end two days of talks on Saturday struggling to agree on a final statement amid deep divisions over trade and protectionism in the wake of US President Donald Trump's "America First" plan.

The Group of 20 finance ministers and their central bankers have already reached a broad agreement on a slew of issues including market regulation, moves to combat terrorist financing, and promoting economic development in Africa.

But they have so far been unable to bridge the differences between the US and other leading G20 members over trade.

The US delegation to the talks in the German resort town Baden-Baden, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, has resisted renewing the G20's long-standing commitment to free trade and its opposition to protectionism.

The failure of the ministers, so far, to forge a consensus on trade means they may be forced to hand the issue over to the G20 leaders who meet in a summit in July in the northern German port town of Hamburg.
The Hamburg summit is to be chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose nation currently holds the G20 presidency.

Saturday's meeting of finance ministers will also likely to consider currency markets as well as receiving an update on the G20's drive to promote economic growth in Africa under its Focus Africa plan.

In addition, the ministers will consider the state of the global economy as well as measures for ensuring sustainable growth.






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