World Economy

G20 Closes Ranks Except on Climate Issue

G20 Closes Ranks Except on Climate IssueG20 Closes Ranks Except on Climate Issue

The G20 nations are set to conclude their Hamburg summit with a unanimous declaration in a face-saving show of unity achieved despite the deep divisions on trade and climate change created by US President Donald Trump’s 'America First' approach.

“The outcome is good?.?.?.?We have a G20 communique not a G19 communique,” said an European Union official on Saturday. World leaders have agreed every aspect of a joint statement apart from the section on climate where the United States is pushing for a reference to fossil fuels, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, news outlets reported.

The officials said aides had worked until 2am to finalize a communique for the Group of 20, overcoming differences on trade after US officials agreed to language on fighting protectionism.

As well as agreements over trade, climate change and migration, the communique includes commitments to address global overcapacity in steel, which could help defuse growing tension in the sector: the US has been considering sanctions against rival producers and the EU is preparing to retaliate, raising risks of a trade war.

The communique comes after weeks of fears that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, this year’s G20 president, might fail to achieve an agreement in the face of the disputes generated by Trump by his criticisms of free trade and international cooperation and, especially, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord, which the other 19 G20 states support.

For Merkel, the summit is an opportunity to show off her diplomatic skills ahead of a federal election in September, when she is seeking a fourth term in office.

The trade section in the statement the aides thrashed out read: "We will keep markets open noting the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks and the principle of non-discrimination, and continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices and recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments in this regard."

Climate change policy proved a sticking point, with the United States pressing for inclusion of wording about which other countries had reservations.

That passage read: "... the United States of America will endeavor to work closely with other partners to help their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently ..."

The negotiations followed another night of violent riots near the venue—clashes between anti-globalization activists and police that have overshadowed the summit of leaders of the world's major industrialized and emerging economies.

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