November 30 through December 1, the leaders of the G20 will meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to discuss a range of issues — from trade, to economic development, to financial stabilization. This summit will be a gathering of world leaders with many important issues to be discussed, and may be the most important meeting of 2018 with leaders such as President Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Angela Merkel.
What is the G20?
The G20 is a forum of the world’s 20 largest economies that meet to discuss challenges that face the most prominent economies. The G20 countries represent a combined total of 85% of the world’s economic output and 66% of the world’s population. The current president of the G20 is President Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina. The current G20 president hosts the meeting and also sets the agenda for the meeting.
Context and background to the summit
China and the United States are engaged in a bitter trade war, and this will undoubtedly be an issue when both President Trump and President Xi Jinping gather, along with other world leaders. For added context to the heightened tensions between China and the United States, both countries sent leaders to the recent APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and because of China’s stance on trade, were unable — for the first time in 25 years — to come to a joint statement. The reason that no unifying statement was given after the APEC summit was due to China’s lack of endorsement for the wording, which all other countries favored. It read, “We agreed to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.”
China stopped any chance of a consensus statement, and many believe they had no intention of doing so from the beginning. There was a report — which China denies — confirmed by Papua New Guinea security that Chinese officials had to be physically escorted from the office of the foreign minister of Papua New Guinea by security officials after forcing themselves. Trade tensions are obviously very high between China and its Pacific Rim partners.
What to watch
Along with many important meetings between world leaders, watch for any agreements made on major issues, such as trade, between China and the United States. China seems to be losing a little ground in the trade war as the APEC summit showed that many of the smaller nations are not happy with the unfair trading practices of China, as well as with their willingness to flex their muscle in the region — be it economic or even military.
Other issues that could be on the table is the economic development of Africa, China’s debt trap diplomacy practices, trade, and Venezuela — with some being more contentious than others. Hopefully progress can be made that benefits the world.