Changing course

The US is nudging the G-20 to change course—one that is against the climate change fight and resistance to protectionism


US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin at a press conference at the G20 finance ministers meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, on Saturday. Photo: AFP
US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin at a press conference at the G20 finance ministers meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, on Saturday. Photo: AFP

The US is nudging the G-20 to change course. The communique issued after the just-concluded G-20 summit has bucked a decade-old tradition of pledging to resist protectionism. G-20 finance ministers also excised a commitment to finance the fight against climate change from their statement. Both changes came about at the behest of the US delegation, backing other G-20 members into a corner.

The changes show that the Donald Trump administration isn’t about to back down on its reversal of previous US commitments—and that its economic heft allows it to dictate terms to other leading economies. Its domestic policies have made these changed priorities clear: last week, the Trump administration proposed a 31% budget cut for the US Environmental Protection Agency.

None of this is good news. It has become clear over the past year that more must be done for globalization’s losers. But renunciation of the principles that have dragged millions out of poverty—or that are vital to fighting the real threat of climate change—benefits no one.

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