EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The most significant features of the recent G20 Summit were China’s and Germany’s move to the forefront of the global leadership stage and a corresponding step backward by the US. The change in world leadership will affect the world economic structure over the coming years.
The G20 comprises 19 countries, including most major economies and the EU. It was established by G7 Forum members in 1999 to expand the scope of responsibility and coordination on economic and financial issues. Together, the G20 economies account for about 90% of the world’s GNP and two-thirds of its population.
The summit took place in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8, 2017. Multiple heads of state attended, as well as finance ministers and central bank governors of the permanent member states. The presidents of China, the US, and Russia, along with the chancellor of Germany, drew the most attention. According to a statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the topics discussed by those leaders included financial regulation, trade, the war on terror, climate change, and epidemics.
US President Donald Trump arrived at the summit as part of a trip to Europe that began with a visit to Poland, where he was received with great warmth. The moment at the summit that attracted the most media attention was the first face-to-face meeting between Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Opinions differ as to whether or not the meeting was successful, but it is clear that Putin benefited more – mainly because he met with Trump as an equal, despite the differences in power between the two countries.
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