On 7-8 July 2017, G20 Leaders met in Hamburg, Germany, to outline a work-program to determine further collective actions to address major global economic challenges and to contribute to prosperity and well-being.

The G20’s Leaders’ Declaration published today, recognizes that meeting challenges of our age and shaping an interconnected world is the common goal of the G20. With this in mind, Leaders emphasized the importance of closer partnership and joint action by G20 members, noting that “We can achieve more together than by acting alone”.

Yet, despite efforts to show unity through a unanimous declaration, the Leaders’ statement exposed a continued divide between G20 members and the US administration’s new stance on trade and climate change in particular.

On trade, the G20 collectively renewed its longstanding pledge against protectionism, but also introduced – for the first time – a recognition on ”the role of legitimate trade defense instruments”, a concession likely driven by the United States.

On climate change, despite intense and drawn out negotiations, Leaders were unable to reach agreement on common language. Recognizing the US isolation in its opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement, the final statement took “note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement” with the remaining 19 members pledging continued support and stating that “the Paris Agreement is irreversible”.

As the global business champion of multilateralism and international cooperation, ICC is naturally concerned by any weakening of the G20 trade and climate change agenda. However, the Hamburg Summit should not be judged solely on issues where there were differences of views. In the 15-page Hamburg Declaration, there are a number of important decisions and outcomes that demonstrate the G20’s collective resolution to tackle common global challenges aimed at raising global growth and delivering better living standards and quality jobs worldwide.

In particular, ICC was pleased that the G20:

  • Reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based international trading system and its pledge against protectionism.
  • Welcomed the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and called for its full implementation.
  • Reiterated the importance of bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements being open, transparent, inclusive and WTO-consistent, and committed to working to ensure they complement the multilateral trade agreements.
  • Underlined the importance of bridging the digital divide and agreed to strive to ensure that all its citizens are digitally connected by 2025.
  • Emphasized the important role that international investment can play in promoting inclusive economic growth, job creation and sustainable development, including a pledge to identify strategies to facilitate and retain foreign direct investment.
  • Reaffirmed the G20’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with collective and concrete commitments.
  • Agreed on an ambitious G20 Joint Action Plan on Climate and Energy for Growth (with the exception of the US).
  • Launched the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue to improve the efficiency and sustainability of natural resource use across the entire life cycle.
  • Renewed its commitment to fighting corruption and fostering integrity in the public and private sector.
  • Introduced digitalization as a new topic on the G20 agenda, including the launch of the G20 Roadmap for Digitalization.

The Hamburg Declaration concluded with the announcement that Argentina will host the G20 in 2018, followed by Japan in 2019 and Saudi Arabia in 2020.

A more detailed analysis of the substantive outcomes from the Hamburg Summit and German G20 Presidency will be presented through the forthcoming 7th edition of the ICC G20 Business Scorecard.

Read more about the initial responses from ICC G20 Advisory Group Chairman, Marcus Wallenberg and Secretary General, John Danilovich, here.