High-level representatives of the world's 20 most industrialized countries gathered Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in an attempt to rescue the global economy from its worst crisis in seven decades. Following an informal side-meeting, the heads of state from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) issued a joint statement calling for the strengthening of multilateral institutions and rules.
"We recommit ourselves to a world of peace and stability, the central role of the United Nations, the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter, and respect for international law, the promotion of democracy and the rule of law. We reiterate our commitment to working together to strengthen multilateralism and promote a fair, just, equitable, democratic and representative international order."
China and the other BRICS partners also committed to supporting transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive international trade.
"The spirit and rules of the WTO (World Trade Organization) run counter to unilateral and protectionist measures," the group stated. "We call on all members to oppose such WTO-inconsistent measures, stand by their commitments undertaken in the WTO."
During the G20 summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to hold talks President Donald Trump with an aid to persuade the U.S. head of state to abandon plans to increase tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent next January. The probability of avoiding further escalation in the superpowers' trade war, however, remains low.
Unlike other industrialized economies that are defending a multilateral approach to international trade, the United States has again shown that the current preferred strategy is to negotiate agreements by weakening its partners' proposals.
Just before the G20 Summit commenced Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed off on a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact. The new agreement had been enthusiastically promoted by President Trump as an alternative to the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).