G-20 summit draft communique calls for promotion of free trade

The G-20 summit will be held in Osaka, western Japan, this week.
The G-20 summit will be held in Osaka, western Japan, this week.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies will likely call for the "promotion of free trade" as a means to achieve strong global growth when they meet for a summit this week, Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday (June 26).

In a draft communique, the G-20 nations also stressed the importance of creating a positive cycle where the benefits of solid growth are distributed broadly across economies, the Asahi said.

The bitter United States-China trade war has hurt business sentiment and jolted financial markets, casting a shadow over the two-day G-20 summit to be held in Osaka, western Japan, from Friday.

Under pressure from the administration of US President Donald Trump, the G-20 removed a phrase calling for the need to resist protectionism from its communique at last year's summit in Buenos Aires.

A communique signed off by the G-20 finance leaders at their meeting earlier this month also does not include the language denouncing protectionism.

But some European countries are demanding that the upcoming summit's communique include language warning against the spread of protectionist policies, the Asahi said.

Japan, which chairs this year's G-20 meetings, is seeking to find a compromise, and the current draft communique has a phrase endorsing the promotion of free trade, the paper said.

Markets are focusing on whether Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could lay the path towards resolving the trade tension when they meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit as scheduled.