G20 Summit: What’s on the agenda? What will get most attention?

By Li Xuanmin in Osaka and Chu Daye in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/27 0:08:36

The world’s eyes are on the upcoming G20 Summit, from Friday to Saturday in Osaka, with several sideline bilateral talks including the meeting between Chinese and US top leaders and the reported meeting between the US and Russian presidents seeming to garner the most attention, even from locals.

In Osaka, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with US President Donald Trump seems like the hottest topic of discussion among local residents, after the two countries locked in a year-long tariff war. This is the first meeting between the two in seven months.

Some Japanese told the Global Times that they hope the summit will yield concessions from both China and the US to promote global development in a peaceful way.

“I hope the China-US meeting can reach outcomes. Japan has a sluggish economy, and if a solution is reached to end the trade war, it could bring tangible benefits to spur our economy,” a 50-something Osaka resident surnamed Miyajima, who is the manager of a parts manufacturing company, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Miyajima said orders that his company has received have shrunk due to lingering China-US trade tensions, and that's hurt his income. He is pinning his hopes on a deal to mitigate tensions.

“The negotiations could go any way, from no progress to a cancellation of all tariffs,” another middle-aged man, who declined to give his name, told the Global Times. But he said it wasn't likely that the meeting would solve all the issues between the world’s largest economies as the fundamental conflicts over US worries about China’s technology rise remain.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the China-US trade negotiations should be conducted in a manner of equal footing, mutual respect and mutual benefit. And “both sides need to address reasonable concerns of each other.”

In addition to the much anticipated Xi-Trump meeting, Trump’s reported meeting with Russian President Putin is also likely to dominate headlines, residents and observers said, after Washington announced a fresh round of sanctions against Iran on Monday and global oil prices soared over Middle East conflicts.

Another development catching the attention of observers is whether there will be a meeting between the presidents of China and Brazil.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been dubbed the "Trump of the Tropics" for his protectionist rhetoric, will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing Bolsonaro's office.

Su Qingyi, an international trade and world politics expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday a bilateral meeting is not likely.

"There will be a meet under the BRICS, as disclosed by the Foreign Ministry," Su said. "But a bilateral meeting between the leaders of China and Brazil is unlikely."

This year, the summit features eight parallel themes, including the global economy, trade and investment, innovation, the environment and energy, according to a statement on the G20 website. Some interviewees predict that talks on WTO reform to uphold multilateralism could also be high on the agenda.

The WTO multilateral trade system is on the brink of collapsing after several trade conflicts in recent months, prompting calls for a swift reform to increase the mechanism’s effectiveness and to rebuild trade rules.

As the G20 presidency this year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also vowed that G20 members will work to “maintain and ultimately strengthen the international order for free and fair trade.”

The market is also closely watching whether a joint communiqué will be released at the conclusion of the summit, as G20 countries have conflicts of interest which seem hard to resolve and most importantly, whether it will involve terms with regard to trade protectionism.

At the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Fukuoka, Japan earlier this month, the final language of the meeting's communiqué did not include a proposed clause to "recognize the pressing need to resolve trade tensions," which Reuters quoted sources as saying was because of the insistence of the US.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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