Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies wrapped up their summit in Hamburg, Germany by issuing a communiqué that forged compromise language over trade enforcement and trade liberalization, and advanced discussion of the digital economy.
But the Trump administration appeared isolated on climate change, with the other G20 nations recommitting themselves to action under the Paris Climate Agreement despite the U.S. pledge to withdraw.
“G20 leaders said the right words about resisting protectionism which will be essential in ensuring access to good jobs in the 21st century,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, who serves as a co-chair of the B20 (Business 20) Employment and Education Task Force.
In their final statement, the G20 leaders committed to keeping global markets open, “noting the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks and the principle of non-discrimination.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a closing press conference on Saturday: “I am satisfied that we managed to say clearly that markets need to remain open.”
John Danilovich, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, said: “We commend the G20’s focus on strengthening the multilateral trading system. A strong, rules-based trading system is a pre-requisite to achieve the G20 leaders’ laudable ambition of making globalization work for all.”
USCIB’s Robinson also welcomed progress made by the G20 governments on enhancing digital commerce.
“We agree with the leaders statement that continued growth and innovation spurred by the digital economy will be essential to meeting the needs of people around the world,” he said. “It’s important that governments maintain a fundamentally pro-investment and pro-competition approach to the digital economy.”
But Robinson had a mixed reaction to the final language on climate change action. “Other members of the G20 are ramping up their cooperative efforts and joint action on climate,” he said. “so we encourage the United States to remain connected and involved in international collaboration for energy security and innovative technology deployment that is essential both for U.S. prosperity as well as tackling climate challenges at home and abroad. USCIB continues to encourage the Administration to consider how to advance these efforts in the UN Climate treaty while it considers ways to re-enter the Paris Agreement.”
Regarding education and employment, Robinson emphasized the importance of educating, training and retraining to gain the necessary skills for the future of work, noting “workers need to be able to successfully adapt to change.”