G20 leaders reaffirm ‘rules-based international order’

  • With Donald Trump upending traditional diplomacy, text lets EU claim small victory
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2018, 8:11am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 December, 2018, 2:47pm

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by David M. Herszenhorn on on December 1, 2018.

G20 leaders on Saturday adopted a joint commuiqué reaffirming their commitment to “a rules-based international order” – a small, symbolic victory for stability in an era when US President Donald Trump has upended traditional diplomacy by instigating trade wars and employing aggressive protectionist policies and rhetoric.

At the same time, the statement by leaders at their annual summit included an awkward line – “We also note current trade issues” – that was a nod to Trump’s continuing fury at an international trading system that he insists has long taken unfair advantage of the United States, the world’s richest country.

The statement could easily be rendered moot by the outcome of a dinner Saturday night between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, at which they are expected to negotiate in their increasingly nasty trade dispute.

The statement agreed on Saturday also included a strong message reaffirming the effort by world leaders to fight climate change – with the notable exception of Trump, whose withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord was noted in a subsequent paragraph.

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“The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilising all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment,” the commuiqué stated.

The communique opened with a nod to growing income inequality.

“We welcome the strong global economic growth while recognising it has been increasingly less synchronised between countries and some of the key risks, including financial vulnerabilities and geopolitical concerns, have partially materialised,” the leaders stated.