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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 26 - July 2  > G20 Osaka Summit fails to respond to global challenges
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2019 June 26 - July 2 TOP3 [ECONOMY]

G20 Osaka Summit fails to respond to global challenges

June 30, 2019

The G20 Summit in Osaka, which Japan chaired for the first time ever, ended on June 29 after adopting the G20 Leaders’ Declaration.

Commenting as the G20 host, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo applauded the success of the gathering by saying that participating countries showed “unity” based on shared views although there were many disagreements expressed throughout the two-day session.

The adopted declaration advances the promotion of free trade while avoiding the term “anti-protectionism” and the U.S. Trump administration’s “unilateralist” policy, just like the previous G20 summit declaration.

The free trade system benefiting multinationals has been pushing forward with deregulation destroying labor protection across the globe. It has also been undermining consumers’ rights and allowing rampant tax evasion. Consequently, poverty and inequalities have increased worldwide. In order to revive the world economy and establish a sustainable world order, it is necessary to create a fair and just trade system centering on each country’s economic sovereignty. However, the G20 Osaka Summit Declaration made no statement in this regard.

In the two-day of discussions during the summit, an increase in U.S.-China trade tensions was frequently cited as a major factor in the slowing global economy. However, G20 leaders in the final document were unable to propose concrete measures to remedy the situation.

Another major theme of the latest summit meeting was the fight for climate change. PM Abe boasted that G20 leaders in the end found common ground. The leaders’ declaration affirmed that signatories of the Paris climate agreement will fulfill their commitment, but at the same time acknowledged the argument of the U.S. government led by President Trump who announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord. In addition, the declaration did not refer to the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial level.

Meanwhile, this year’s G20 summit declaration announced the launch of the “Osaka track”, a framework for negotiations on formulating international rules regarding the digital economy. The launch of the “Osaka track” was pushed by PM Abe who supports corporations leveraging big data. In this regard, Abe stressed the need to promote the creation of international rules ensuring the free movement of data across borders. However, the declaration indicated nothing in detail regarding the concept of a borderless data flow.

The Civil 20, one of the major international organizations representing civil societies, in its policy proposal for the G20 summit criticized what PM Abe seeks by saying, “The concept of ‘free flow of data’ across borders is an agenda promoted by certain business interests to evade regulations, but this is not in the public interest.”

Past related article:
> Japan needs to fulfill its responsibility to implement Paris accord rules at COP24 [December 18, 2018]
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