The ongoing tariff war between China and the United States has brought a dose of anarchy into international trade. The World Trade Organization, which monitors and regulates its development, will keep existing, but it certainly won’t thrive.
The escalating trade war between the United States and China will be one of the hot issues during the Buenos Aires G20 meeting. This trade conflict, probably the most important since the second world war, started last January with the US introducing safeguard tariffs on imports from the world of solar panels and tariff rate-quotas on imports from the world of washing machines. These tariffs have been introduced in response to requests by US manufacturers.
The BRICS group – composed by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – is one of the most eloquent symbols of a changing global order. Since its creation in 2006, the BRICS became a political platform for emerging powers to push for a more multipolar world. This became even more evident in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, as the BRICS began to demand specific reforms of institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Few days before the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections on October 7, it is highly risky to make any reasonable forecast about who will win a likely second round. For the time being the possible political and economic evolution after the elections seems to be unpredictable. But the good news is that since the return of democracy Brazil has always found a reasonable way to overcome all kinds of difficulties.
Trade wars are becoming a reality. After a short period of apparent detente, US President Donald Trump recently declared that Washington is ready to levy tariffs on Chinese imports for $50bn, as well as broader investment restrictions. Now, trade talks have come to an impasse: the US Administration will also impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, as well on Mexico and Canada.
US President Donald Trump has five objectives for his trip to Asia. The first is to put his personal imprimatur on US engagement with Asia, a region of growing economic and strategic significance to the United States. Second, he seeks to rally support for his policy of maximum pressure on North Korea to force that country to abandon its nuclear program. Third, he will reassure allies and adversaries of continuing support for US alliances in Asia, a signal to Pyongyang that its threats have not changed thinking in Washington.
Officially announced by president Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has since become the centrepiece of China’s economic diplomacy.
It is a commitment to ease bottlenecks to Eurasian trade by improving and building networks of connectivity across Central and Western Asia, where the BRI aims to act as a bond for the projects of regional cooperation and integration already in progress in Southern Asia.
But it also reaches out to the Middle East as well as East and North Africa, a truly strategic area where the Belt joins the Road. Europe, the end-point of the New Silk Roads, both by land and by sea, is the ultimate geographic destination and political partner in the Belt and Road Initiative.
This report, edited by Alessia Amighini, provides an in-depth analysis of the BRI, its logic, rationale and implications for international economic and political relations.
Global summits have rarely played such an important role as in 2017. In times of political volatility and economic uncertainty summits provide a forum for heads of state to exchange views on eye level contributing to a stabilization of expectations and potentially restoration of international consent. The US under President Trump questions a number of previously defined international commitments, in particular the stance on anti-protectionism and on the mitigation of dangerous climate change.
Anyone who says that they know what Donald Trump will do as president is lying. Trump himself does not know what his policies or responses to particular situations will be – which is not surprising for someone who has no background on most issues a president confronts, no record of government service, no appetite for preparation, a preference for going with his gut, and the apparent absence of an ideological or moral compass.
The work of the G20 benefits from the agenda-setting of the country holding the presidency as well as from the continuity that can be kept in the agendas, year after year. From this perspective, Germany, presiding over the G20 during 2017, will be able to fruitfully take up important items that have been developed under the Chinese presidency.