Secret debate: no changes on the issue of protectionism

Trump and Xi Jinping, yesterday in Buenos Aires
Trump and Xi Jinping, yesterday in Buenos Aires Fuente: Archivo
Santiago Dapelo
(0)
1 de diciembre de 2018  • 12:15

The commercial fight, the main discussion at the G-20 Summit , remains unchanged. Despite the attempts of some countries, such as Argentina and Canada, the presidents Donald Trump (United States) and Xi Jinping (China) maintained their unalterable position: one, in favor of protectionism; the other, the free market.

President Mauricio Macri was in the spotlight, in his role as host and moderator of the plenary meeting of presidents on the first day of the Summit of the G-20. However, he avoided pronouncing himself.

According to witnesses of the meeting, in the second section, which included the discussion on trade, the Chinese president, before the eyes of Trump, which was very participatory, ratified his position in favor of free trade and expressed his rejection to the protectionist model.

The commercial dispute will have an essential chapter today with the meeting that Trump and Xi will hold in the afternoon, perhaps the one that generated the greatest expectation at this summit.

The person in charge of seeking to reach a consensus to move forward with the approval of a relevant final document, something that for the moment appears as a difficult task, was the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau

The person in charge of seeking to reach a consensus to move forward with the approval of a relevant final document, something that for the moment appears as a difficult task, was the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau , who reinforced that this type of organisms have to "generate the mechanisms" that allow consensus on the underlying controversy.

In addition to the tensions between the United States and China, the joint actions against the climate change also generated discussions. In principle there would be no mention of the Paris Agreement , which caused tension between Trump and the rest of his peers.

With everything under negotiation, the Government acknowledged that the decision on the final document will be taken "at the last minute". Macri worked all day with the aim of building bridges.

In his role as a cane man, he led the two blocs in which the plenary was divided, in which 38 leaders, prime ministers and authorities of international organizations participated, including the 20 leaders that make up the club of the most industrialized countries in the world.

"He started formal, but he relaxed and moved like a fish in the water, he was happy," described one of the officials who was at his side. So much so that after listening to several speeches that had as axis the trade he went to the director general of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo. "Everyone talked about you! See what you have to say", Macri told him as a presentation. The Brazilian also maintained his position and demanded more flexibility from some members to achieve results.

The plenary will continue today with a new round of dialogue, of which the leaders and their advisors participate. In the case of Macri he was accompanied by the chief of staff, Marcos Peña ; the chancellor, Jorge Faurie ; the Minister of Finance, Nicolás Dujovne ; the General Secretary of the Presidency, Fernando De Andreis , and the presidential adviser Fulvio Pompeo.

Inauguration

At the inauguration of the summit of leaders in the Costa Salguero site, headquarters of the historic event, the President urged his peers to act with "the same sense of urgency" as in the summit that took place in 2008 at the height of the crisis economic and financial. "In these years the changes in the social and economic political circumstances at global level and in our countries generated a questioning about the contemporary multilateral mechanisms, including the G-20", described the head of state. The plenary had yesterday its first joint session with the main world leaders.

During the eight minutes he used to present his views on the subject, the President assured that "the essence of the G-20 is to promote dialogue that respects differences". And, as a thank you to the international support that the Government had during the economic crisis, he added: "I want to tell you that this summit is an unprecedented event in our country, so many leaders never converged in our history and in a short time. We take it as support and recognition of Argentina's performance in the global scenario ".

As if it were a harangue, Macri urged them "that in this day and a half of work we can create the bases for the consensus of the next ten years". Before the plenary, the retreat was held, where the leaders talk in private, without any adviser, to an open agenda for an hour and a half.

Queen Máxima de Holanda spoke for 30 minutes with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde , and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, had several heads-up

No sources would reveal what happened inside. It was known that there were two absentees: the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel , who due to problems with the plane arrived yesterday afternoon and went directly to the gala at the Teatro Colón, and Donald Trump.

Government sources sought to de-dramatize the absence of the US president and said he did not surprise them because he does not usually go to these meetings. He is not very willing to face a chorus of adverse voices.

After that summit there was time for other high level meetings. For example, the Queen Máxima de Holanda spoke for 30 minutes with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde , and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, had several heads-up.

"Consensus is not something that is built overnight, it has advances and setbacks that continue after the G-20, it is better when it is translated into concrete actions," Macri concluded. "Everything worked very well, but it's not over yet,. Two very good days went by from the Government's perspective", said Hernán Lombardi, Media Director and coordinator of the Technical Unit G-20.

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