G20 statement agrees to fix global trading system

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Leaders of the Group of 20 have agreed to fix the world trading system - but only 19 of them agreed to support the Paris accord on fighting climate change.

Applause rose up in the hall Saturday as the leaders, including US President Donald Trump, signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit.

The non-binding agreement was reached after difficult all-nIght talks by diplomats.

The statement acknowledges flaws in the world trading system and calls for reforming the World Trade Organization. It doesn’t mention protectionism however, because negotiators said the US had resisted that.

The statement adopted at the end of the two-day summit in Buenos Aires only recognized the “contribution” of the “multilateral trading system,” but said it was “falling short” in goals of growth and job creation.

The statement says 19 of the members reiterated their commitment to the Paris climate accord but the US reiterates its decision to withdraw.

A senior US official hailed G20 leaders for reaching a consensus on a communique on Saturday, pointing to World Trade Organization reform as “the biggest thing.”

“For the first time ever, the G20 recognized that the WTO is currently falling short of meeting its objectives and that it’s in need of reform,” the official said.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde called on G20 leaders to urgently de-escalate trade tensions and reverse tariff hikes, warning that they risked slowing global growth.

“Pressures on emerging markets have been rising and trade tensions have begun to have a negative impact, increasing downside risks,” Lagarde said in a statement issued at the conclusion of the G20 summit.

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