Global relations became strained when top leaders of the most powerful economies met for the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. President Trump once again displayed his capriciousness, by standing by his decision to pull out of the climate accord that was forged in Paris. It was drafted in December 2015 and was put in effect in November 2016. Another sore point was the issue of free trade.
Reaction of World Economic Leaders at The G20 Summit
The G20 summit used to be dominated by the United States, but with Trump’s foreign policy to put America first, he’s placed the country in an awkward position. The fear of these economic leaders that Trump would be a disruptive force during the meeting was true.
Because the United States stepped back from being the traditional leader of the West, Chancellor Angela Merkel had to step up to lead the Western leadership.
Trump also did not give the usual press conference at the end of the summit. Instead he allowed European leaders, Emmanuel Macron of France, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Angela Merkel of Germany to face the media.
Rebuked for Stance on Climate Accord
World leaders reaffirmed their support in the international fight against global warming at the G20 Summit; putting Donald Trump in a club of one because he had declared that he was rejecting it. The other leaders of the European Union and emerging countries once again gave their support for the Paris Climate Agreement. They vowed to quickly implement the methods to reduce greenhouse gases.
The broad pledge that the members of the summit came up with consisted of three parts. The first part is about the members’ general pledge to combat climate change. A separate paragraph stated that the United States is not supporting the Paris climate accord. The last paragraph reaffirmed the support of the 19 members of the G20 summit to the climate change pact.
Angela Merkel said that it was regrettable that the U.S. had a different position about the climate accord but remarked that they did achieve good results in other areas. The talks were difficult at times, according to Merkel but they won the agreement on trade that included the U.S., even if there were differences over the problem of free trade.
Free Trade Agreement
Tension was also rife when the summit participants talked about trade. The G20 Summit decried protectionism. The group is concerted in their effort to fight the lingering effects of the Great Recession and the financial crisis the gripped most parts of the world.
The Group of 20 added new elements to the agreement. They said that countries that feel they are taken advantage of could utilize “legitimate defense instruments,” meaning countries could put up blocks if there are unfair trade practices, according to what’s allowed by the World Trade Organization (WTO). They also support open markets and recognized that trade must be mutually advantageous and reciprocal.
Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary said that the U.S. worked hard to include “reciprocal” in the phrasing of the new trade agreement.