image

G20: Hamburg

‘All or nothing’ – China won’t push for G20 climate stand without total buy-in

China says it won’t push the Group of 20 to take a joint position on the global issue if it doesn’t have the full backing of all members, including the US

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 11:40pm

A top Chinese finance official said Beijing would not push for a joint statement on climate change at the Group of 20 meetings in Hamburg this week if it excluded the United States.

Vice-Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said on Thursday that China stood firm on the need to address climate change, but stressed that G20 policies should be the consensus of all member states and “no one should be ­excluded”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also rejected the idea of a “G19” statement on climate change excluding the US, Associated Press reported.

US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his country out of the Paris climate accord left a vacuum in global leadership on the issue for China and the European Union to fill, some observers suggested.

But a trade dispute between Beijing and Brussels stopped the two sides from issuing a joint statement at summit last month.

As climate battle lines are drawn, can G19 hold firm against Trump’s G1?

The G20 summit gets under way today, with the main focus expected to be on economic and financial policy, climate, trade, employment and development.

Merkel, a strong supporter of free trade, has pledged to defend an open global market against Trump’s isolationist “America First” agenda.

Zhu said China would keep a close eye on Trump’s tax reforms and financial deregulation as well as the possible tightening of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy, factors that “will have a significant impact on the world economy”.

He said China was also closely monitoring the global spillover from the US Federal Reserve’s ­ongoing normalisation of interest rates, promising continued “sound cooperation” with the monetary authority.

China would stay in regular contact with the Trump administration to communicate the two countries’ financial policies, Zhu said.

What’s holding back China and EU on climate change agreement?

Zhu also said he was confident that China, the United States and the rest of the G20 members would be able to reach a consensus on how to push ahead with global free trade despite Trump’s isolationist agenda. “The Trump administration actually supports free trade but at the same time has stressed that it has suffered from it,” the vice-minister of finance said. He also said the fairness of the existing global trade system would be one of the key issues at the two-day gathering.

Commenting on growing economic ties between the EU and China, Zhu said the European Central Bank’s decision to hold yuan assets as part of its foreign exchange reserves for the first time reflected the bloc’s confidence in China’s economy.

He also said it was likely that both sides would increase their forex reserve holdings of each other’s currency.