This is the first time that China has hosted the summit, and all eyes are on Beijing and President Xi Jinping who has sought to make a landmark agreement to revive global growth, hoping to keep political tensions out of the discussion, particularly China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Promoting innovation and inclusive growth has been on Xi’s agenda, along with strengthening global trade in a context of rising protectionist measures.
Some of the other prominent topics covered at the meeting have been the mounting security risks and global political uncertainties such as consequences of the Brexit vote for the global economy, widespread terrorist attacks around the world and spillover effects from the ongoing conflict in Syria, specifically following Turkey’s intervention there.
The rise of populism is of particular concern to the G20 leaders as some countries seem to be gravitating towards isolationism and against trade. The TPP debate and whether or not the U.S. will ratify the deal, especially as some political leaders in the U.S. are vehemently against such a deal arguing that it will move more jobs out of the U.S., is a topic of discussion to watch.
The summit has also provided a platform for important bilateral meetings to take place. Some of the most important involve the U.S. trying to cut a deal with Russia on Syria; China and Canada discuss their relations; as well as European leaders meeting to try to tackle their economic issues.
Unfortunately, the results and conclusions from meetings such as these all too often represent nothing more than declarations of intent with limited impacy, usually kept vague enough to please all of the parties involved.
Will there be any concrete outcomes emerging from the G20 summit? That remains to be seen. In the meantime have a look at our most recent interactive infographic-chart above to see how the G20 countries’ economies have performed since its creation in 1999.