G-20 Drops Anti-Protectionist Language in Communique
21 March, 2017, 00:22 | Author: Paula Vaughn
ANALYST TAKE: "A key downside risk for the global economy is an increase in protectionism and an outbreak of trade wars", said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital. "As highlighted in our discussion at the G20 High Level Tax Symposium, we emphasize the effectiveness of tax policy tools in supply-side structural reform for promoting innovation-driven, inclusive growth, as well as the benefits of tax certainty to promote investment and trade". Indeed, the USA delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stood its ground against enormous pressure from other G20 states.
"Trade questions are not the responsibility of the finance minister. that's why it was a bit complicated, that's true", he said, as the American delegation was led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The WTO operates a system of negotiated trade rules and serves as a forum for resolving disputes.
"My view is that the Americans were doing what any new administration would do - they were looking at the language through their lens", said Bill Morneau, Canada's finance minister, who made a last-ditch push for the compromise.
In Southeast Asia, oilfield services firm Ezra Holdings of Singapore filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday. "Everyone else has the same lens, but every other country has the advantage of being at the previous meeting".
European countries and China were said to be pushing for a stronger stance in favor of free trade and cooperative, multi-country frameworks for trade such as the World Trade Organization.
Ministers made a decision to give a little now in hopes that they can come up with language later that will satisfy most of the G-20 and Donald Trump before the meeting of principals in July. Ironically, China and some European states tend to intervene more often in private-sector business than the US government.
Conspicuous by its absence was the phrase "we will resist all forms of protectionism" that was contained in the communique from the last meeting of the group in China in July 2016.
Trump and other critics of free trade argue that it can cause jobs to move to lower-cost countries. The development led to warnings over the weekend on the outlook for trade, a key issue for host nation Germany, which fought the new United States government's attempts to water down past commitments.
"What was included in the past communiques was not necessarily relevant from my standpoint", Mnuchin said following the meeting.
While delegates greeted Mnuchin and said that he had been engaged in the process, they said he didn't elaborate on how the USA considers itself to be treated unfairly.
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