Gateway House hosted a T20 meeting in Mumbai on February 14, 2017 in collaboration with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, with support from GIZ and Siemens India. This was the third time Gateway House hosted a T20 meeting; previous editions were held in 2015 under the Turkish Presidency with the leading Turkish think tank TEPAV, and in 2016 under the Chinese Presidency with the leading Chinese think tanks — Institute for World Economics and Politics, Shanghai Institute for International Studies, and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies.
Unlike the statement made by the G20 Finance Ministers last year, which asked members to resist “all forms” of trade protectionism, the communique released at this weekend’s G20 meeting in Baden Baden contains no such statement, nor does it refer to a commitment to a multilateral trading system. While there is no need to rush to any judgement, as we wait to see the final communique from the G20 leader’s summit in July this year, it may be useful to reflect on some of the lessons learnt about the role of free trade.
According to consistent press reports, drafts of the communiqué prepared for the G20 Finance Minister and Central Bank Governers at their forthcoming meeting at Baden-Baden on 17 and 18 March 2017 have dropped clear statements rejecting protectionism and competitive devaluation of currencies. Apparently, generic language about keeping “an open and fair international trading system” is to be substituted. Does this matter?
One of Germany’s goals under its G20 Presidency is to achieve sustainable economic progress in Africa, particularly through infrastructure investment. A concrete, actionable deliverable could be for the G20 to help support Africa50 – a new Africa-owned and led infrastructure investment initiative – get off the ground.