G20 Summit to convene in Japan as trade, digital economy, environment in spotlight

World’s leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies will gather in the western Japanese city of Osaka on Friday, with trade, digital economy and environmental issues expected to be high on the agenda.

A main focus of the two-day meeting will be how firmly the G20 leaders can hammer out coordinated policies on the sustainable growth of the global economy and promote free trade, including reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), amid lingering trade tensions between the United States and China.

However, it is uncertain whether the leaders can find common ground over the issues after their finance ministers and central bankers dropped a pledge to fight protectionism from their joint statement in the recent meeting.

The G20 leaders will also jointly address the global challenges of digitalization of the economy such as data governance, usage of innovations in the field of climate change, reducing ocean plastic waste, empowerment of women, quality infrastructure and health, according to the planned themes announced by Japan’s Government.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will chair the summit of advanced and emerging economies, has asserted Japan’s determination to lead global economic growth by promoting free trade and innovation, achieving both economic growth and reduction of disparities, and contributing to the development agenda and other global issues with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core.

In the areas of international taxation and finance, the leaders are expected to confirm a policy to compile new common rules to close tax loopholes used by multinational IT giants, including Facebook, Google and Amazon, which earn huge profits in low-tax countries regardless of their location of the end customers.

At the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting took place in Fukuoka on June 8-9, the financial chiefs endorsed the proposals recently made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on new international rules for those multinational companies would be taxed appropriately where they make huge profits.

The G20 members account for about 60 percent of the world’s population and over 80 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Group consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the European Union.

A number of bilateral meetings are expected to be held on the sidelines of the Osaka summit. US President Donald Trump is set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping amidst a trade war between the two countries.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on a further $300 billion worth Chinese products, including smartphones, toys and clothes, based on the outcome of his meeting with Xi.

According to media reports, Trump will also hold a series of talks with other world leaders, including Prime Minister Abe, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Source: International Islamic News Agency