On the G20’s official website, the group representing the world’s leading economies claims it “regularly issues clear statements opposing protectionism and supporting fair terms of competition”.
Not this year though.
The G20 Summit in Germany has been overshadowed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s new ‘America First’ agenda, which has overcome heightened calls for more free trade from the likes of the European Union, China and elsewhere.
As a result, the usual pledge to reject protectionist policies was notably absent from a communiqué released by G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the spa town of Baden-Baden over the weekend.
“We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies. We will strive to reduce excessive global imbalances, promote greater inclusiveness and fairness and reduce inequality in our pursuit of economic growth,” the communiqué said.
“We met at a time when the global economic recovery is progressing. But the pace of growth is still weaker than desirable and downside risks for the global economy remain.
“We reaffirm our commitment to international economic and financial cooperation. We reiterate our determination to use all policy tools – monetary, fiscal and structural – individually and collectively to achieve our goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, while enhancing economic and financial resilience.”
The ministers and Central Bank governors reiterated that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates could have adverse implications for economic and financial stability.
“We will consult closely on exchange markets,” they said.