During press briefings at the beginning of the G20 meeting of industrialized nations in Buenos Aires, UN Secretary António Guterres described the event as an essential forum, citing a lack of confidence and high level of confrontation within the worldwide community. While the USA had a problem on nearly every issue, as said by the European Union officials, countries like China, South Africa, Australia and Turkey also had their share of objections on issues like trade, migration and climate change, Buenos Aires Times reported.
President Donald Trump has criticized the WTO and taken aggressive trade policies targeting China and the EU.
A final communique adopted after all-night haggling in the summit in Argentina said all other G20 members agreed to implement the "irreversible" Paris Agreement on climate change, while respecting different paces of economic development.
On global commerce, the statement says the 20 countries support multilateral trade but acknowledge that the current system doesn't work and needs fixing, via "the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning".
"There was an attempt from a lot of the other countries ... to get the United States to commit to certain language with regard to the multilateral system", said one senior USA official.
The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement, within the UN Framework Convention on climate change dealing with the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as identifying engines for adaptation and finance.
With trade tensions between the U.S and China dominating the summit, the Europeans sought to play mediator and also scaled back their expectations, cutting out mention of rising protectionism - mainly aimed at Trump. "With Trump, we reached an agreement", Macron said. "In a lot of areas it's falling short", said the US official, who asked not to be identified because of the confidential nature of the talks.
The officials later said: "We reiterate that trade is beneficial for utility, innovation, growth and employment, and we reiterate that the multilateral trading system is the framework in which we are all working and committed".
The threat of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a negotiated deal is another potential headwind, the International Monetary Fund said, as May uses the G20 to sell her vision of a "global Britain" after Brexit. Beijing rejects criticisms from the United States, Europe and Japan for dumping, industrial subsidies, abuse of intellectual property rights and technology transfers, amongst other practices.
At the outset of his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Buenos Aires on Friday, Trump voiced optimism about the prospects of the planned U.S.
The summit statement's language on climate was welcomed by environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace, the latter of which said in a statement: "The necessity of the USA being part of the effort to fight climate change can not be denied, but this is a demonstration that the U.S.is still the odd one out".
Calling the deficit "massive" and "pretty substantial", Trump said, "We hope that we're going to be balancing it very quickly".
The day will also see a highly anticipated meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose nations have been embroiled in an escalating trade war with new U.S. tariffs on China goods set to take effect a month from now.
As a reporter tweeted, Trump is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping over dinner on Saturday.