Meeting of the G20 finance ministers

There are no winners in trade wars

At the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Argentina, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz stressed that he sees "no alternative to close multilateral cooperation". The finance ministers see growing risks for global trade.

Olaf Scholz, Federal Minister of Finance, takes his place during the meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.

In Argentina, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz advocated "rules-based, free and fair global trade"

Photo: picture alliance/dpa

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that an upward spiral of reciprocal tariffs could adversely impact on the global economy as a whole.

"The prosperity gains for all sides are greater if we cooperate," said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz after the meeting in Buenos Aires. Rules-based, fair and free global trade is better than protectionist measures on the part of individual countries.

Call for dialogue

Representatives of the main industrialised countries and emerging economies underscored the importance of free trade for the global economy. "International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development," states the final Communiqué. We "recognise the need to step up dialogue and actions to mitigate risks and enhance confidence".

In the view of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US economy in particular could be one of the greatest losers in a trade war, in view of the punitive tariffs now threatened by numerous countries. In the final analysis, however, the entire world would suffer. In the worst-case scenario, global economic output in 2020 could be 0.5 per cent, or 430 billion US dollars lower than currently forecast.

Hope of a change of course

Speaking in Buenos Aires, Olaf Scholz said that it is "still on the agenda that the United States rolls back the steps it has already taken with tariffs". It is good, he added, that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is flying to Washington with the aim of persuading the US government to change course in its trade policy.

In response to the conflict with the USA over trade, the European Union intends to step up its trading relations with other regions. Recently it concluded a free trade agreement with Japan, which is to be followed by an agreement with the South American common market Mercosur.

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