The Group of 20 (G20), the world’s top economies, succeeded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last Sunday, December 2, where the Asia-Pacific Economic (APEC) Summit had failed in Papua New Guinea two weeks earlier. G20 was able to issue a final joint statement signed by all the attending world leaders.
The APEC Summit had ended in disarray last November 18 as United States President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping could reach no agreement to ease their trade war which has begun to affect the entire world economy. Trump and Xi met again at the G20 Summit, and this time they were able to agree on some points, which allowed the conference to issue a final statement signed by all the national leaders in attendance.
At the core of the final statement was a US-China agreement to suspend any new tariffs in the escalating trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. The US said it would put on hold a planned increase in US tariffs on Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent. China agreed to hold its own tariff increase on US goods.
In the next three months of the ceasefire, the two sides will be undertaking intensive negotiations on a host of US demands – the removal of trade barriers, an end to intellectual property theft, and other actions for fair trade.
The G20 statement touched on many other issues – on migration, on women’s economic development, on China’s financing infrastructure in many nations, and on climate change. On this last issue, the G20 agreed to disagree — 19 of the G20 members reiterated their commitment to support the Paris Conference Agreement on Climate Change, while the US reiterated its decision to withdraw its support.
By March, 2019, we should see substantial agreement between the US and China — or the resumption of their trade war with its devastating effects on many nations’ economies.
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel spoke for the other G20 nations when she voiced her hope that the two nations will be able to reach agreement on their differences, as all nations are beginning to feel the ill effects of the US-China trade war. That includes the Philippines which with its considerable trade with both countries.