G20 world leaders pledge global economic cooperation

By Allen Cone
Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, on Sunday. Pool Photo by Li Tao /UPI
Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, on Sunday. Pool Photo by Li Tao /UPI | License Photo

HANGZHOU, China, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The G20 summit wrapped up Monday with the world leaders pledging to boost a sluggish economy with global cooperation.

In a joint statement, Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. President Barack Obama, and the leaders of Canada, Britain, Japan, Russia and other Group of 20 nations pledged to improve trade.


"Eight years ago ... the G20 pulled the world's economy away from a cliff to the track of stability and recovery. Eight years later, the world economy is again at a critical moment," Xi said after the summit.

Xi said leaders would develop guidelines on global investment and overhaul the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to help emerging markets.

The International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for global economic growth to 3.1 percent. After the meetings, the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde told The Wall Street Journal, "There must be more growth and growth must be more inclusive."


The group issued a nine-page statement that did not include details, including any mention of a global stimulus.

"The global recovery lacks momentum," Xi told reporters after the meeting. "We need to do more to unlock the potential for medium and long-term growth."

Xi opened the summit urging leaders to be an "action team" instead of "talk shop." He noted the logo designed for the event of a bridge consisting of 20 lines in light green.

"The Group of 20 is like a bridge, bringing together people from all over the world," Xi said.

The G20 leaders promised "inclusive growth."

The statement expressed "opposition to protectionism on trade and investment in all its forms."

They also pledged to not devalue currencies by boosting exports.

From a humanitarian standpoint, they urged increased aid for surging refugees.

"If China can pursue her own market reforms and opening, then China would have the credibility and real stature to lead the world," Fred Hu, chairman of Primavera Capital Group, a private-equity firm, told the Wall Street Journal.

China has been criticized for its domination of the steel industry. The country is beginning to close steel factories and Xi in the past has offered to cut 100 million to 150 million tons of steel over the next five years.


The joint statement, without naming China, calls for formation of a steel forum under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to study excess production capacity.

The communique said, "We recognize that excess capacity in steel and other industries is a global issue which requires collective responses."

And China has been slow in closing down smokestack factories and liberalizing its own market.

"China is a status quo actor in international economics," Derek Scissors, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, who specializes in the Chinese economy, told The Wall Street Journal.

On Sunday, Obama and Xi ratified the Paris climate change agreement.

And after private talks with Xi, Obama said: "The bilateral discussions that we had yesterday were extremely productive and continue to point to big areas of cooperation."

This was the last G20 summit for Obama.

"We must all work together to spur economic growth, to boost free trade and build a fairer economy that truly works for all," he said.

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