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G20 summit highlights global trade concerns

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 28, 2019 - Duration: 02:25s

G20 summit highlights global trade concerns

Many leaders of the world's top 20 economies at the G20 summit have voiced concern over trade tensions and the risk they pose to global growth, but were at loggerheads on key issues such as World Trade Organization reform, according to delegates who spoke to Reuters.

Ed Giles reports.

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G20 summit highlights global trade concerns

World leaders pressed the flesh in Japan on Friday (June 28), kicking off the two day G20 summit in Osaka.

It was all smiles for the cameras on the first day of meetings, that even featured a sit-down between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

There, Trump appeared to make light of allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

(Soundbite) PUTIN AND TRUMP LISTENING AS JOURNALIST ASKING TRUMP OFF CAMERA (English): 'MR PRESIDENT DID YOU TELL RUSSIA NOT TO MEDDLE IN ELECTION?', TRUMP SAYING 'OF COURSE I WILL.

DON'T MEDDLE INTO ELECTION', POINTING FINGER AND REPEATING.

But according to delegates who spoke to Reuters G20 leaders have been unable to meet in the middle on many of the summit's key agenda items. They voiced concern over the impact of the bitter U.S.-China trade war, the conference host, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said trade tensions could end up being very bad for everyone.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER, SHINZO ABE, SAYING: "Reciprocal trade restriction measures don't benefit any country.

Any trade steps should be in line with WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules.

I am deeply concerned about the current situation surrounding global trade." Tokyo has been pushing for a communique from the G20 summit, that emphasises the promotion of free trade as the way to stronger global growth.

That's according to Japanese media.

But delegates from both Russia and Japan told Reuters Trump's so-called "America First" agenda, and his administration's dislike of multilateralism, are proving tricky tests for G20 solidarity.

Among the biggest fractures is a disagreement over how to reform the World Trade Organisation, or WTO, to better drive the global economy.

Information security, climate change and migration are also proving thorny issues.

French President Emmanuel Macron saying his country will not sign off on a communique from the summit that does not mention the Paris agreement on climate change.

The summit is set to continue on Saturday (June 29), where a meeting on the sidelines between Trump and China's Xi Jinping is set to be closely watched for any positive or negative signs pointing to the future of global trade.

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