BADEN-BADEN: Finance ministers from the world’s biggest economies were battling Saturday to halt a bid by US President Donald Trump’s administration to roll back hard-fought pledges on trade and climate.
Representatives from G-20 nations have gathered in the picturesque western German spa town of Baden-Baden since Friday for a meeting clouded by concerns over Trump’s “America First” policy and skepticism toward climate change.
The world’s biggest economies will pledge to jointly fight cyberattacks on the global banking system, one of the biggest coordinated efforts yet to protect lenders since an $81 million heist of the Bangladesh central bank’s account last year.
G-20 finance chiefs will agree to fight attacks regardless of their origin and promise cross-border cooperation to maintain financial stability, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
“We will promote the resilience of financial services and institutions in G-20 jurisdictions against malicious use of information and communication technologies, including from countries outside the G-20,” it said.
However, it dropped an earlier reference for enhanced security requirements for financial services.
The world’s financial leaders will also renounce competitive devaluations and warn against exchange rate-volatility, the draft showed.
Trump, whose tough protectionist talk helped win him the presidency, has withdrawn the US from a transpacific free-trade pact and attacked export giants China and Germany.
On Thursday, he also revealed a budget plan that would make good on a campaign pledge to drastically scale back environment-related funding.
That stance has grated Washington’s partners, who are trying to persuade US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to renew a long-standing G-20 anti-protectionism commitment and uphold an international deal on climate won only after years of painful negotiations.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said leaders would be asked to step in when they meet in Hamburg if no agreement can be found.
“Our heads of state are meeting in a few weeks. On subjects that are so important, it is not up to the finance ministers to block or to walk back on the issue, there will not be any backsliding on such fundamental issues,” he said.
Carried to power on the back of a political storm over deindustrialization in vast areas of the US, Trump vowed in his inauguration speech to “follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.”
Trump himself insisted at a tense Washington press conference Friday following his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that “I am a free trader but also a fair trader.”
He also rejected a description of his policies as “isolationist.”