What you need to know about the G-20

Posted on: July 6th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — On Wednesday, President Donald Trump set off on the second foreign trip of his presidency, during which he will be attending the G-20 summit in Germany. Trump’s attendance at the conference is an opportunity for the new president to work alongside the world’s greatest economic and political powers.

In a White House statement regarding the trip, press secretary Sean Spicer said: “The visit will reaffirm America’s steadfast commitment to one of our closest European allies and emphasize the administration’s priority of strengthening NATO’s collective defense.”

This year, the G-20 will be held July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany. Trump’s attendance at the summit will come following a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, a key NATO ally. Trump also plans on meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday during the summit.

Here’s what you need to know about the annual meeting:

What is the G-20?

According to the G-20’s official website, the group is a collection of 19 countries and the European Union that meet annually to discuss international financial and economic issues. Each year, the countries rotate who chairs the meeting. This year, the presidency of the G-20 is Germany.

Since the inaugural meeting of the G-20 in 2008, member heads of state have been meeting in a confidential setting to propose an international agenda that serves sustainable economic growth and protects the stability of international financial systems. While the focus of the meeting is largely economic, issues such as climate change, labor regulations and counterterrorism are also highlighted. New topics to the G-20 meeting this year include sustainable economic development with a turn toward refugee migration, Africa, global health and women’s economic empowerment.

Given the global influence of G-20 member nations, resolutions crafted by the group often put pressure on the United Nations to implement binding agreements, with the latest example being the Paris Climate Agreement.

While the meeting of heads of state is the focus of the G-20, government secretaries and ministers responsible for G-20 subtopics will meet to discuss their specific interests, as well.

Who is a part of the G-20?

The 19 nations included in the summit are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Collectively, these nations account for 80 percent of the world economic output, three-fourths of world trade and two-thirds of the global population.

In addition to these member nations, a number of international agencies are also regularly invited to attend the meeting. These organizations include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the World Bank (WB), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN).

Guest nations have also been invited by Germany to attend this year’s summit. Spain remains a permanent guest, while Norway, the Netherlands and Singapore have been designated partners to this year’s G-20 process. Guinea, Vietnam and Senegal will represent the African Union, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, respectively.

Together, these participants include some of the most influential players on the global economic stage.

Trump and the G-20

Trump, known for promoting an “America First” agenda, will be attending the summit on international cooperation for the first time. A vocal proponent of protecting domestic interests, Trump has backed out of global agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement, which was influenced by the 2015 G-20 summit, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

That said, Trump has been hesitant to legally alter other components of the international order he threatened to challenge during his 2016 campaign, attacking global agreements in rhetoric rather than in writing. His attendance at the conference focused on collective global action may be revealing of next steps in his administration’s attitude toward foreign policy.

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