There is little doubt that US-China trade tensions will take centre stage at the meeting of the Group of 20 which gets under way in Osaka, Japan, today. The expected meeting between United States President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will be the prime-time event, even though it will take place on the sidelines of the summit. With a substantive bilateral agreement on trade nowhere to be seen on the horizon, expectations of the outcome of their meeting must be modest.
If the two leaders can, for example, refrain from rhetoric and draw up a road map for future negotiations, that would in itself be a positive achievement that would de-escalate tensions, even if temporarily. However, the US-China trade tensions are but one manifestation of a bigger problem that the G-20 must address - and that is de-globalisation more generally.