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Once dominant, the United States finds itself isolated at G-20
10 July 2017, 12:53 | Kara Nash
File The slogan"No G20 is displayed on the roof of left-wing culture center"Rote Flora to protest against the G20 summit
World powers lined up against U.S. President Donald Trump on climate change, reaffirming their support for worldwide efforts to fight global warming. They called the deal to reduce greenhouse gases "irreversible" and vowed to implement it "swiftly" and without exception.
The United States' step back has left other nations, especially Germany under veteran Chancellor Angela Merkel, to take up the banner of traditional Western leadership - a stunning scenario given Washington's decades-long role as the most prominent player in global diplomacy.
The Trump administration argues the USA has become too dependent upon foreign steel for its infrastructure and military equipment.
When asked during a news conference Wednesday whether steel would be an issue discussed during the G20 summit, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said, "That will become apparent".
Trump's chief economic adviser played down tensions between the US and other nations as the president headed home from his first G-20 summit. He said having "a diversity of opinions in a group of 20" was not unexpected. China, the target of much anti-globalization rhetoric, is not such a major factor, at least not in steel.
On June 20, he made a similar statement on the platform.
The question is whether a unilateral American invocation of the president's rarely used power to create national security exceptions to normal trade law is the right way to deal with this situation.
At a gathering of the Group of 20 world economic powers - normally a venue for displays of global comity - there were tough clashes with the USA and even talk of a possible trans-Atlantic trade war. President Trump's tweets have recently hinted that another crackdown will come. Probably not. Given China's relatively small USA market share, and the fact that anti-dumping and countervailing measures already apply to China, it is not clear what could be accomplished through new barriers to imports - unless they were applied to other steel exporters.
When it comes to free trade in particular, it appears to be Trump against the world.
Japan was a party to the now-aborted Trans-Pacific Partnership, a broad trade arrangement negotiated under President Obama that would have lowered trade barriers between the US and many Asian countries, with the notable exception of China.
European Commission officials declined to go into detail about what form the retaliation would take, and would not comment on a Financial Times report that the EU could hit imports of bourbon and orange juice.
HAMBURG Leaders from the world's top economies meet to forge a consensus on trade and climate change on Saturday after setting their staff to work through the night to find agreements that eluded them on the first day of their summit.
His counterparts are bracing for fresh surprises after Trump stunned the world by pulling out of the 2015 Paris climate pact, questioned long-standing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allegiances and dismissed free trade principles. That meant a first section with a broad pledge to fight climate change in general; a separate paragraph carved out that acknowledged the USA did not support the Paris deal; and a third paragraph in which the other 19 members reaffirmed their support for the deal. "This would, of course, trigger a reaction in Europe", Gabriel told German radio station Deutschlandfunk.
Nowhere was Trump's isolation more evident than on the issue of trade.
Meanwhile, failure to agree on climate doesn't stop countries from moving ahead in meeting the Paris agreement's goals, or exceed them if they want to.
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