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Highlights of the G20 Summit

11 July 2017HighlightsPoliticsEconomics

International Trade and Investment

  • The Communique affirmed "the crucial role of the rules-based international trading system" and "the principle of non-discrimination", but no longer suggested for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be "playing the central role", as the 2016 Communique had done.
  • The Communique vowed to "continue to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices", "recognize the role of legitimate trade defense instruments in this regard" and "strive to ensure a level playing field", while the 2016 version expressed unequivocal "opposition to protectionism on trade and investment in all its forms" and did not mention trade remedies.
  • An August 2017 deadline was also set for information sharing and cooperation on addressing excess capacity in the steel industry, with concrete policy proposals due in November 2017 and follow-ups in 2018.
  • Overall, these statements are consistent with Citi's expectation that the US could pursue trade remedies and trade enforcement more aggressively and note that the US's Section 232 conclusions about the national security case for restricting steel and aluminum imports is due soon.
  • Meanwhile, the EU and Japan announced an agreement in principle for a free trade deal.

Climate change

  • The joint statement notes "the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement". But the other leaders decided to forge ahead by the other 19 countries releasing a separate statement reaffirming the commitment to the agreement of 2015, which they called "irreversible".
  • French President Macron separately announced that France will host another conference on climate change on 12 Dec 2017. Citi analysts had anticipated the possibility of a separate agreement, which may be politically opportune for the US (to indicate its intentions to shift away from multilateralism) as well as the other countries that would be keen to show that they do not rely on US leadership.

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