G20 leaders vow to realize free, fair trade and investment environment

Monsivais

Monsivais

Leaders of the Group of 20 economies on Saturday agreed to promote free and fair trade without a signature pledge to fight protectionism for the second year running, amid a U.S. In the statement the grouping said it adopted an "Osaka Blue Ocean Vision" that aims to stamp out additional pollution by marine plastic litter by 2050.

"In light of the current situation, especially with the United States, maybe the 19-plus-one formulation.is the best possible scenario that we could agree", said Yukari Takamura, a professor of global law at the University of Tokyo.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had sought to project G20 unity, said he tried to find common ground among themselves and send a strong message in a world where conflicts tend to be emphasized.

The group further said that it will redouble its efforts for a consensus-based solution on tax challenges arising from digitalisation with a report by 2020. "That being said, the Osaka summit created a big opportunity (for the G20) to shift to concrete action".

USA withdrew from the accord after Trump came to power.

The two leaders agreed on a cease-fire following months of tit-for-tat tariff hikes that clouded the economic outlook given the intertwined nature of global supply chains.

"We will continue to address these risks and stand ready to take further action", the G20 leaders said in a declaration at the end of a two-day summit held here.

The gathering of the G-20, which represents about 80 percent of the world's economy, came as the leaders face an uphill battle to keep the group relevant as multilateral arrangements have come under attack by Trump.

The US president is at odds with Western allies including Mrs May over climate change after pulling out of the worldwide Paris agreement on the subject.

European leaders had stepped up pressure on their G20 peers.

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Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies warned on Saturday of growing risks to the global economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, calling instead for a free, fair trade environment after talks some members described as hard.

Macron said at a press conference on Saturday that discussions had continued until the last minute, adding his "red line" was not crossed.

World Trade Organization reform was also an important agenda item at the meeting.

They agreed that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by WTO members.

To this end, they stressed the importance of accelerating the virtuous cycle and leading transformations to a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future.

The group chose to work on advancing elements to develop infrastructure as an asset class, including by exploring possible indicators on quality infrastructure investment, the declaration said.

Experts said that, under the circumstances, the deal could be seen as something of a victory.

A French source said Washington was trying to persuade some countries to reject the Paris deal and there are concerns that it now appears less isolated than before on environmental issues.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the US, Chile, Egypt, Estonia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal, Singapore, Spain and Vietnam are members of the G20 bloc.

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