Economic leaders of the G20 ratify multilateralism, but warn about risk of commercial tensions

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Ministers and presidents of central banks of the leading economies of the world met this weekend in Buenos Aires, where after several hours of work meetings they reached consensus on some topics of the G20 agenda that they managed to translate into a working document.

The third Ministerial of Finance ended by fulfilling the promise made by its heads of delegation in March (when the first summit was held) to prepare a document that they called an “action plan”. In the same, and as expected, they agreed that global growth “remains robust”, and expect it to be 3.9% for this year and the same figure for the next.

However, unlike the first ministerial (March) this time they asked to “intensify” the dialogue around free trade, while ratifying the defense of multilateralism. There were also identified risks: for the short and medium term, the G20 economies listed as threats to “financial vulnerabilities, geopolitical and commercial tensions and structurally weak growth”.

Returning to the most anticipated topic, which was undoubtedly trade, the authorities claimed to have “a very constructive dialogue where positions were approached”. “The ministers reaffirm that trade and investment are engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development, and we agreed to redouble efforts to strengthen dialogue,” they told the press.

A secrecy imposed on the link between the United States and China in that regard. “We are not going to give details, but know that we are available to sit down with them if they want to talk about commercial issues,” US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the end of the event.

In addition to confirming the presence of President Donald Trump at the summit of leaders to be held at the end of the year, Mnuchin said that his country defends multilateralism, but “in fair and equitable terms.” And is that doubts increased due to the tension that has increased in recent months due to differences in negotiating the trade dispute between the two countries. To this is added a report from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which revealed that the protectionist measures in the cloths that make up the G20 increased during the last year.

In spite of the comments of the North American delegation, the Argentine Government was optimistic about the results of the summit. The head of Finance Nicolás Dujovne and the president of the Central Bank Luis Caputo were in charge of publicizing the main scopes of the Ministerial held at the Exhibition and Convention Center (CEC) on Saturday and Sunday. “It was a success,” said Dujovne, celebrating the consensus achieved in some points of the economic agenda.

Dujovne himself called for “keeping alive” and “working in harmony” with the bloc, which he defined as “crucial”. “In all the countries of the G20 there is a very strong vision that this group must be kept alive and working in harmony, in the bad times it is crucial”, said the national official, “he argued.