US President Donald Trump  and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with members of their delegations attend a dinner meeting at the end of the G20 Summit. Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb
US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with members of their delegations attend a dinner meeting at the end of the G20 Summit. Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb

The Group of Twenty is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors, mostly of big economies, which account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade, two-thirds of the world population, and about half of the world land area. The G20 includes the US, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia among others.

Founded in 1999 with the aim of discussing policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since. It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.

The 13th G20 summit was held from November 30 to December 1 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The previous one was held on July 7-9, 2017, in Hamburg, Germany. The next one will be held on June 28-29,  2019, in Osaka, Japan.

The G20 is an important platform that provides an opportunity for global leaders to discuss the prevailing challenges and explore solutions. Under the current US-China trade war, this last meeting was even more important, as US is the largest and China the second largest-economy of the world.

These two countries dominate the global economy. Any disturbance to the US or Chinese economy could disturb the whole world. There were clouds of destabilization due to the ongoing trade war between the two biggest economies and all other nations were worried about their own future.

Under this scenario, the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was the focus of the whole world. Fortunately both sides were mature decided not to ramp up the tension any further. China and the United States have agreed to halt additional tariffs as they engage in new trade negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days.

The breakthrough came after a dinner meeting between Trump and Xi. Trump agreed not to boost the tariff rate on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% on January 1 as previously announced, while Beijing agreed to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, the White House said in a statement.

The final G20 communiqué said the members reaffirmed “commitment to further strengthening the global financial safety net with a strong, quota-based, and adequately resourced IMF at its center,” and that international trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development.

On current trade issues, the members reaffirmed their pledge to use all policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. The communiqué said the group would safeguard against downside risks by stepping up dialogue and actions to enhance confidence.

The credit goes to Xi, who observed patience and displayed Chinese traditional wisdom. In spite of arrogant attitudes displayed by the US, the Chinese stayed cool and tried to find solutions. Chinese diplomacy played its role very well and finally some issues have been resolved.

Overall the summit was termed as a very successful one and hopes for stability in the global economy were obvious. Especially the developing countries and poor economies felt able to sigh with relief.

Pakistan is passing through an economic crisis and struggling to revive its ailing economy. The international environment now may improve and there may exist space for Pakistan to play smartly and regain its position among the global economies. It possesses huge potential for rapid growth, enjoying a natural edge from its rich agriculture and tremendous natural mineral resources.

Pakistan’s workforce is also a positive factor, with 70% of its population under the age of 40, many of whom are well qualified. The only hindrances are corruption, nepotism and poor management. It is the responsibility of government to introduce reforms, incentive-based policies, and strict merit-based implementation.

The honesty and sincerity of Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, is without question. He is very loyal to the nation and willing to eradicate poverty from masses. However, to achieve his dreams, he needs a strong, trustworthy and capable team to implement his vision. He may need to strengthen his team with honest, professional devotees.

He is enjoying full support from all quarters including the judiciary, military and media. The masses of Pakistan support him unconditionally. He should meet the expectations of the people of Pakistan.

Zamir Awan

Professor Zamir Ahmed Awan is a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Chinese Studies Center of Excellence, Islamabad, Pakistan. Posted to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing as science counselor (technical affairs) from 2010-16, he was responsible for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and China in science, technology, and higher education.

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