Day one of G20 wraps with no consensus on trade or climate change

BRICS

Day one of the G20 Summit has wrapped in Germany, but there’s no consensus on climate change, or trade—two global issues that weren’t problems at past summits. The difference this year is Donald Trump is U.S. President.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports from Hamburg.
Follow Guy Henderson on Twitter @guyhendersonde

A dramatic end to a day that’s been filled with it: the first face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin for starters.

The U.S. delegation is digging in for a nail-biter on the issues of climate change. Negotiators could have their work cut out for them to come up with something all members can live with.

“As you all know, most participants have acknowledged the Paris treaty,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It will be very interesting how we phrase the communique tomorrow to make clear that there are dissenting opinions on this since the United States plans to pull out of this agreement.”

China’s ruled out a climate statement without U.S. backing. So it is unanimous agreement, or nothing at all.

That’s not the only major sticking point as Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an open world economy at a meeting of BRICS countries. America still threatens protectionist tariffs on cheap Chinese steel imports. Europe apparently prefers an alternative: jointly pressuring Beijing.

“I think we want to work together,” said Joshua Baker, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. “I think you’re going to see the United States, our delegation specifically, discussing steel. We are going to put out what our priorities are. We’re going to look at where there might be points of synergy with our European allies.”

Those tracking these summits say there’s never been one quite like this.

“The hype is really appropriate because this is the first failed G20 summit that could happen if these leaders don’t get their act together,” said John Kirton, the Co-Director of the G20 Research Group. “And we’re off to a rocky start: some agreement on terrorism and other issues, but the main ones – climate and trade – are still there.”

It’s been pretty unique outside the venue too. Police said they were ready, but they weren’t quite with hundreds of protesters out in the streets of Hamburg, descending into chaos. More police force has been drafted in as street violence rumbles on.

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