French Finance Minister Michel Sapin regrets that a meeting of world financial leaders failed to reach satisfactory conclusions on climate change and trade.
Sapin highlighted the successes of the G20 meeting in Germany such as a determination to fight tax avoidance, clamp down on terrorist financing and strengthen private investment in Africa.
“I regret nevertheless that our discussions today were not able to reach a satisfactory conclusion on two priorities that are absolutely essential in today’s world,” he said in a statement.
He cited the fight against climate change and trade, saying France was convinced of the need for “regulated free trade” that was profitable for everybody.
Finance ministers from the world’s biggest economies on Saturday dropped an anti-protectionist pledge and a vow on action against climate change, after Washington refused to sign up to the commitment.
After a two-day meeting, ministers from the G20 nations said they were “working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies” but failed to spell out a pledge to reject protectionism in a closing statement.
The conspicuous omission came amid a push by US President Donald Trump to pursue an “America First” policy that includes penalizing companies that manufacture abroad by heavily taxing their products.
Since taking office, Trump has withdrawn the US from a trans-Pacific free trade pact and attacked export giants China and Germany over their massive trade surplus.
His stance has sparked alarm among Washington’s trading partners, and prompted Beijing to issue a stern warning against sparking a trade war.
References to action against climate change under the Paris Accord were also scrapped from the G20 statement unlike at a previous summit last year.
Sources said the US delegation could not commit as they had not been given instruction from Washington to do so at the meeting in the western German spa town of Baden-Baden.