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Minimal Consensus Will Not Solve Global Challenges, G20 Has to Take Decisive Action now!


All eyes are on Buenos Aires, when on 30 November and 1 December Argentina will become the first South American country to host the G20 Summit. Even though heads of state and government of the 20 major industrialized and emerging economies will convene to discuss the most urgent global challenges of our time, attention is mainly focused on two events during the Summit: Firstly, a meeting between President Trump and President Xi is scheduled, which will determine if the White House will invoke more tariffs targeting Chinese imports. Secondly, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, replacing NAFTA, is expected to be signed.


Both events emphasize the significance of the G20 Summit for essential questions of global trade. Trade conflicts are becoming more severe, the number of disputes settlement procedures before the WTO is increasing significantly, and trade barriers are rising. Moreover, the WTO is facing harsh headwinds. Therefore, the G20 has to take decisive action. The Argentine Presidency is strongly focused on reaching consensus. This year’s G20 motto reflects these efforts: “Building consensus for fair and sustainable development”. Against the backdrop of the trade conflict between the United States and China, however, a minimal consensus will not be sufficient to solve the challenges in the global trading system.


B20, Business 20, the official business dialogue to the G20, has formulated clear expectations for this year’s G20 Summit: Protectionist measures as well as trade-related competitive distortions have to be stopped. A commitment to free and rules-based trade is needed; this commitment should also include an agreement to reform the WTO and to aim at structural functional improvements of the organization.


Furthermore, B20 hopes for a strong agreement regarding climate change. As summarized in this year’s B20 recommendations, the G20 should promote resource efficiency, expand climate change adaptation policies and accelerate transitions to a low-carbon future.


Further recommendations of the business community refer to higher integrity and compliance standards in public procurement and with regard to SOEs. In the field of digital economy and Industrie 4.0, B20 calls on G20 leaders to foster digital skills, to support the creation of an Industrie 4.0 ecosystem and to improve cybersecurity across countries.


B20 Argentina has made substantial contribution to this year’s G20 process through its viable and valuable recommendations. These recommendations were handed over to G20 Chair and Argentine President Mauricio Macri during the B20 Summit in October in Buenos Aires. Now it is the G20’s turn to consider the business recommendations in their final Communiqué. As the G20 represents 64 percent of the world’s population, which amounts to 4.7 billion people, and 80 percent of the world’s GDP, the group’s responsibility to shape our future together is formidable. The G20 should therefore recognize this responsibility and take action.



The B20 has been the official business dialogue of the G20 since 2010. Each year, experts from businesses and business federations elaborate on policy recommendations for the G20. During the German G20 Presidency 2016/2017, BDI, BDA and DIHK jointly led the B20 process. During the Argentine B20 Presidency, B20 Germany supported the process as a member of the Troika. After the Summit, Japan will take over the G20 and B20 Presidency for the coming year.

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