OSAKA, Jun 28, 2019, SCMP. European Union leaders have warned of the damage caused by the ongoing US-China trade war to the world economy and appealed for rules-based international trade. The strained relations between Washington and Beijing over trade are “difficult” and contributing to a slowdown in the global economy, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday in Osaka, as the world’s Group of 20 economies began their two-day summit in the western Japanese port city, reported the South China Morning Post.
“We meet at a time when the world economy is encountering uncertainties,” Juncker said, adding that all countries would struggle to prosper if others did not play by the rules.
“In our talks with both the US and Chinese authorities … I was drawing their attention to the harmful impact this controversial matter is creating.”
European Council President Donald Tusk called on all countries to adopt a more open and liberal stance.
“The global stage cannot become an arena … where egotists would dominate in some regimes and nationalistic emotions would dominate over economic terms,” Tusk said, adding that every country had a responsibility for not only its own interests but a fair and safe world order.
“We came here to defend and promote liberal democracy. Whoever claims liberal democracy is obsolete also claims freedom is obsolete, the rule of law is obsolete, and human rights are obsolete. But in Europe, these are essential and vibrant values.”
The two-day G20 summit has been overshadowed by the increasingly bitter trade conflict between China and the US, with all eyes watching whether the two countries could move towards resolving their trade war.
The South China Morning Post reported on Thursday that the two sides had tentatively agreed to a truce in the dispute, to resume talks aimed at reaching a deal. A previous 90-day truce had been agreed at December’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Details of a truce – which could avert the US’ threatened next round of tariffs on an additional US$300 billion of Chinese goods – are being examined ahead of a planned meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Donald Trump, which is expected to take place on Saturday.
While trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies have escalated over the past few months with barrages of import tariffs being aimed at each other, the US has pursued a series of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rule changes intended to force China to end trading practices perceived by many to be unfair.
“We are working closely with the US and Japan, as well as China and others, on reforming the WTO and creating a level playing field,” Juncker said. “This can only be done with the G20 as a core group.”