Finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 biggest economies at a meeting in Germany during the weekend failed to keep their commitment to endorse free trade in the G-20 communique. Finance ministers warned against competitive devaluations and disorderly FX markets but failed to agree on keeping global trade free and open.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers made only a token reference to trade in their communiqué on Saturday, a clear defeat for host nation Germany and for other countries which rely significantly on exports. The development led to warnings over the weekend on the outlook for trade, a key issue for host nation Germany, which fought the new US government’s attempts to water down past commitments.
“The weak wording on trade is a defeat for the German G20 presidency,” Ifo economist Gabriel Felbermayr said. “This is particularly true in the light of the fact that Germany is one of the world’s strongest export nations and relies on open markets to maintain its prosperity like hardly any other country.”
G20 finance ministers also removed from their statement a pledge to finance the fight against climate change. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said he regretted that a G20 meeting had failed to reach satisfactory conclusions on climate change and trade.