G20 Summit participants agreed on the need to reform the World Trade Organization — ČT24 — Czech Television

This year, G20 leaders are focusing on the future of work, infrastructure for development, food security and gender balance. On the topic of digitization, the communique mentions support for the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge, but this is conditional on compliance with the law.

The heads of government of member countries also recognize international trade and investment as engines of growth and development, but they also see deficiencies in the current multilateral trading system that can be corrected. In this context, they support the need for WTO reform. The change in WTO functioning has to be the most extensive in the organization’s 24-year history.

US President Donald Trump is a vocal critic of the WTO and has threatened several times that the United States will leave the organization. Washington recently blocked the appointment of new WTO judges to decide trade disputes, threatening the organization’s functioning.

Washington complains that WTO judges overstepped their authority and ruled unfairly in favor of China and some other countries at the expense of the US.

On the topic of ecology, the communiqué stated that the signatories to the Paris climate agreement would continue their efforts to reverse global warming. The statement also mentions the US commitment that has withdrawn from the climate agreement, that it wants to use all sources of energy, but at the same time protect the environment.

Putin and Merkel discussed Ukraine and Syria

The summit starts on Friday. Opening talks were held before 19 delegates, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Buenos Aires with considerable delays due to a government plane breakdown.

As on Friday, a number of bilateral meetings were held on the sidelines of the summit on Saturday which were dominated by the latest political topics. Over breakfast with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Merkel expressed concern about an incident in the Kerch Strait near Crimea, in which the Russian Navy captured the crew of three Ukrainian warships.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Chancellor and also French President Emmanuel Macron asked Putin to release the Ukrainian sailors. However, Putin replied that the decision was within the jurisdiction of the court.

Merkel and Putin also discussed the situation in Syria which was also the topic of Putin’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He proposed to the Russian president to hold another summit for a peaceful solution to the situation in Idlib, Syria.

Trump cancels press conference over Bush Sr.’s death

Putin originally planned a meeting with Trump, but he canceled it because of the Kerch incident. Even so, the two statesmen met briefly on Friday, said Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov, who in turn held talks with Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton. After the meeting, a Kremlin official said that Moscow and Washington were ready to resume contact.

Trump also canceled a press conference at the end of the summit. He justified it with piety after the death of former US President George Bush Sr. on Friday. Trump is still scheduled to have dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It remains to be seen whether they will find a solution that will end the trade war between the two countries.

G20 members are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, Russia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, India, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey. The European Union ranks separately among them as a member of the twenty groups.

Roderick Glisson

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