G 20 Finance Minister’s meeting concluded at the German spa town of Baden Baden is a break from the past. The meeting witnessed a clash between the resurged US economic nationalism and the rest of the G20 who are worried about the future of globalisation.
There was an uneasy air as well as debate about the wording against protectionism. In the past, the G20 was the forum that passes resolution against trade barriers.
Last year, the official summit communiqué adopted a tougher language to “resist all forms of protectionism”. But this year, the meeting declared that members were “working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies”.
The US pressure was immense and the G20 as a forum has not extended a united opposition to the new administration’s stand. “We have reached an impasse,” said Germany’s finance chief Wolfgang Schäuble. Germany and China as leading exporters were criticized by Mr Trump.
China who took the leadership of the pro-globalisation camp was not active at Baden though its representative cited President Xi’s remarks against protectionism made at Davos earlier this year.
The Declaration at Baden Baden was also notable for the conspicuous absence of commitments to multilateral trade systems, including the World Trade Organization (WTO).