G20, 2017 examines the global financial system, trade and climate discussions… amidst a world eagerly awaiting results

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By : Amira Elhamy 

Hamburg hosted on the 7th and 8th of July  the G20 summit, with the presence of more  than 20 heads of state and governments as  well as representatives of various international  organisations.  The Group of twenty is comprised of 19  countries plus the European Union. These  countries have come to be known as G20  and include the following countries:Argentina,  Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France,  Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan,  Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,  South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom  and the United States of America.  G20 2017 dealt with major issues, trade  was one of the most significant topics. According to G20.org, Angela Merkel reported  that there had been extremely intensive  discussions on trade; summit participants  agreed to fight protectionism and unfair trade  practices. The rules-based international trading  system, as embodied by the World Trade  Organisation (WTO), plays a vital role in this.  Bilateral agreements, must always be WTOcompliant,  said the Chancellor. The Global  financial system, women empowerment, and  responsibility towards Africa were also key issues  that were discussed.  During the summit Angela Merkel talked  about ensuring stability in the international financial  system. She pointed to the Hamburg  Action Plan; which was also adopted at the  summit. The Leaders’ Declaration stipulates,  "We will promote greater inclusiveness, fairness  and equality in our pursuit of economic  growth and job creation. To these ends, we  endorse the Hamburg Action Plan."  As for women empowerment, Merkel mentioned  the initiative "#eSkills4Girls" which  aims "to promote opportunities and equal  participation for women and girls in the digital  economy in developing countries in particular;”  as the Leaders’ Declaration says.  “Accepting responsibility”, was the motto  that G20, 2017 raised related to African issues  and the challenges that the black continent  need to address. “We launch the G20  Africa Partnership in recognition of the opportunities  and challenges in African countries  as well as the goals of the 2030 Agenda,”  said the Chancellor. The summit participants  also declared that education is a "central factor"  and "the key to sustainable growth" on  Europe’s neighboring continent.  The US withdrawal from Paris Climate  Agreement could never have passed in silence  during G20, 2017. All participants regretted  the US decision. As for Chancellor  Merkel, she said that she is satisfied that all  other G20 members agreed that the Paris  Agreement is simply irreversible.  According to CNN, the G20 declaration    noted the US withdrawal from the accord but  said the country affirmed its "strong commitment  to an approach that lowers emissions  while supporting economic growth and improving  energy security needs."  Regarding the Russian situation related to  climate change, following the summit, Russian  President Vladimir Putin called climate  change a "major issue" and said Merkel had  reached a "good compromise."  As for British Prime Minister Theresa May,  she said that she was dismayed at the US  climate stance and that she had urged Trump  to reconsider.  Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister  said during the G20 that strong economic  growth and environmental protection can  go hand in hand. He noted that "This is  the narrative that we have been sharing …  and was enthusiastically supported by just  about everyone here at the G20.”  It is to be noted that the G20 is the central  forum for international cooperation on  financial and economic issues. The G20  countries account for more than four-fifths  of gross world product and three-quarters  of global trade, and are home to almost  two-thirds of the world’s population.  According to “G20.org” the G20 heads  of state and government traditionally focus  on issues relating to global economic  growth, international trade and financial  market regulation. The G20 finance ministers  and central bank governors began  meeting regularly in 1999. Other issues of  global significance are often closely linked  with economic questions. Examples include  climate change, development policy,  labour market and employment policy, the  spread of digital technology and, topically,  counter-terrorism.  The range of issues now considered by  the G20 thus makes for a broad agenda.  Since the global financial crisis, the G20  states have been working to strengthen  the resilience of the global financial system  and to improve the regulation and supervision  of financial market participants,  including what is known as the shadow  banking system.  The aim is to ensure that no financial market,  financial market participant or financial  product remains unsupervised. Furthermore,  G20 countries account for three quarters of  global trade. China, the United States, Germany  and Japan are the four largest exporting  countries in the world. Of the 20 countries  with the largest volume of exports worldwide,  15 are members of the G20; thus, they constantly  take in consideration how to achieve a  strong, sustainable and balanced global economic  growth.

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