WITH US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May in the room, G20 leaders on Saturday agreed to fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices, and promote greater inclusiveness in global economic growth. Indicating that American and British positions are at variance with the rest of the G20 countries, India’s top negotiator Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, said, “The negotiations were long, since there have been changes around the world. Especially in the US and the UK, where the government’s positions have changed from what was there before.”
The Hamburg declaration emphasised the importance of transparency for predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations, and the leaders said they would strive to ensure a level playing field. It said the nations will “continue to fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices”. “We underline the crucial role of the rules-based international trading system,” the declaration said, and that benefits of international trade and investment “have not been shared widely enough”.
With the Trump administration considering changes in the skilled workers’ programme and US also becoming protectionist after Brexit, New Delhi signed off on this statement, which aimed at fighting protectionism. “International investment can play an important role in promoting inclusive economic growth, job creation and sustainable development, and requires an open, transparent and conducive global policy environment,” it noted.
The leaders said they will promote greater inclusiveness, fairness and equality in pursuit of economic growth and job creation.
The declaration also had a strong paragraph on fighting corruption, one of India’s major concerns, “We remain committed to fighting corruption, including through practical international cooperation and technical assistance, and will continue to fully implement the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2017-18. We endorse four sets of High Level Principles aimed at fostering integrity in the public and private sector.”