G-20 heads to stop short of denouncing protectionism in communique: Nikkei

World leaders attend a family photo session at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, 2019. A proposal for a "free, fair and non-discriminatory" trade policy has been reportedly endorsed by several members.
World leaders attend a family photo session at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, 2019. A proposal for a "free, fair and non-discriminatory" trade policy has been reportedly endorsed by several members.PHOTO: REUTERS

OSAKA (REUTERS) - Group of 20 leaders will agree to accelerate World Trade Organisation (WTO) reforms but stop short of calling for the need to resist protectionism in a communique to be issued on Saturday (June 29), the Nikkei newspaper said.

The gathering of the heads of the world's biggest economies has been overshadowed by a high-stakes meeting scheduled on Saturday between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to salvage their trade talks.

In preparing the G-20 communique, Japan, the chair of the meetings, has sought common ground between the United States, which opposes language denouncing protectionism, and other nations seeking a stronger warning against trade tensions.

The G-20 members broadly agreed on the need to accelerate stalled WTO reforms in Friday's session on global growth and trade, a Japanese government official told reporters.

Given the raging US-China trade war, however, delegates will forgo adding a line in the G-20 communique calling for the need to resist protectionism, the Nikkei reported Saturday.

Instead, Japan is working with other G-20 nations to urge members to promote a "free, fair and non-discriminatory" trade policy, the paper said. The proposal has been endorsed by several members already, it said without citing sources.

The G-20 leaders will release the communique after they wrap up their two-day meeting on Saturday.

 

It will be the second straight G-20 summit in which members forgo pledging the need to denounce protectionism. The language on protectionism was removed at last year's summit in Buenos Aires, nodding to a request by Washington which is sensitive to criticism of the tariffs it is slapping on some G-20 members.

Widening fallout from the US-China trade war has jolted markets and tested the resolve of G-20 members, whose leaders are meeting in the western city of Osaka, to present a united front in averting a global recession.