'Huge breakthrough' at G20 agriculture summit

01.08.2018 - Article

G20's agriculture ministers confirmed their commitment against protectionism at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires

German Minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner and her collegues
German Minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner and her collegues© DW/Reuters/M. Acosta

The ministers agreed to eschew protectionism in favor of global trade. Germany hailed the talks' “breakthroughs for agricultural, the climate, and the consumer. ”The G20's agriculture ministers issued a joint statement on Saturday, confirming their commitment against unilateral protectionism. They agreed to avoid “unnecessary obstacles” to trade as global tensions escalate off the back of tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump. The group also praised the World Trade Organisation, which President Trump has antagonised by blocking the appointment of arbitration judges. “Recognising the important role of the WTO, we agree to continue the reform process of agricultural trade rules,” they said.

Trade disagreements between the European Union and the US have thawed somewhat after last week's meeting between President Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. However, as Germany's Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner pointed out, there is no guarantee Germany can import the number of US soybeans Washington wants it to. However, Klöckner was largely optimistic, saying: “With this G20 meeting, we have succeeded in clear breakthroughs for agriculture, the climate, and therefore for the consumer.” “We achieved more than we thought we would. That's a huge breakthrough.”

The ministers talked about, among other things, combining productivity with sustainability and crop diversity. On the sidelines of the meeting, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said that the amount of a newly-announced bailout to US farmers would amount to between seven billion US dollars and eight billion US dollars (6-6.8 Billion Euro). Farmers have been some of the hardest hit by Trump's tariffs. The G20 group, comprising Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Britain, the United States and the EU, control about 69 percent of all arable land and 80 percent of the global trade in agricultural products. They were meeting in Buenos Aires.

© DW

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