G20 Summit in Argentina: What Are The Major Issues On Everyone's Agenda?
G20's annual summit for 2018 is being held in Argentina (Photo: fmfrecuenciavital.com)

The Group of 20 -- G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 of the world's largest economies and the European Union. This grouping represents almost 85% of the world’s global economic output.

The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Owing to its economic power, much of the issues facing the world are on the agenda when the grouping meets for its annual summit each year. This year the host country is Argentina and the conference will take place on Friday November 30 and Saturday December 1.

The official G20 website says, "The Buenos Aires meeting is taking place 10 years after the first G20 Leaders' Summit in Washington DC, when heads of State and Government from around the world put together an action plan to address the 2008 financial crisis."

However, it is not just trade tariffs that will be a talking point as international security flashpoints are taking place all over the world – from Ukraine-Russia tensions, to Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and the U.S.-China faceoff in the waters of the South China Sea.

Economic Issues

  • A high-stakes meeting is scheduled between US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping to talk trade. The two countries have slapped tariffs worth $250 billion on each other’s products. Trump says he wants to come to a trade deal with China and the G20 summit offers the two countries a chance to do so.
  • France on its government website says that one of its top agendas is protecting a multilateral trading system that is open, rules-base and fair. The multilateral trading order has been hit by the U.S.’s decision to import trade tariffs on a host of countries and the Trump Administration has accused China of gaming the WTO’s established system.
  • This ties in what is probably India’s top agenda as well. India, the world's sixth largest and fastest growing economy depends on the liberalised trade regime underwritten by the WTO. Despite WTO’s inability to reign in China, it stands for a multilateral system that also represents the concerns of emerging economies. Reforming the WTO without destroying what it has established is the need of the hour. This will be high on the agenda as Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the summit.

Modi, in a statement issued before his departure for Argentina, mentioned that he will "highlight the need for reformed multilateralism which reflects the contemporary realities and can effectively strengthen collective action for global good".

  • Oil price volatility will also probably come up as Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude producer will be present at the summit.
  • The EU introduced legislation that will tax companies like Google and hence promoting fair competition among Internet giants and protecting personal data in light of Facebook’s data privacy scandal will also feature on the agenda.

Security Issues

  • Saudi Arabia is being represented by its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen will loom large at the summit.
  • Ukraine-Russia tensions has led to Donald Trump cancelling his scheduled summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. But German chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet Putin and efforts to deescalate tension will be made.
  • U.S. has consistently opposed China’s claims in the South China sea which has resulted in Washington carrying out multiple freedom of navigation operations in China’s backyard. U.S. has sent its destroyers to the Taiwan strait as well which has not gone down well in Beijing.

Other issues likely to be discussed are the various countries’ commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement and stepping up efforts to meet climate change mitigation goals. With UN reports establishing that CO2 emissions are on the rise, climate change discussion will be high on the agenda.