These events will give us a clearer idea of American policyby Christopher Smart / January 19, 2017 / Leave a comment
Mark your calendars for key events this year that will reveal the Trump administration’s vision to remake the world’s economic order. There will be early hints from a handful of incoming advisors who are in Davos this week and the picture will take shape slowly in speeches (and Tweets) as they settle into office. But the economic summits already on the docket will require President Donald Trump to sit down with his counterparts and explain exactly what he means by “America First.”
Economic summitry is rarely the stuff of high drama, but this year there may be fireworks. During the global financial crisis, of course, the G20 meetings convened by Presidents Bush and Obama were crucial in helping stabilize the world’s economy. But in those conditions, it was relatively easy for everyone to agree. Since then, in a more stable world economy, there have been real disagreements around the right policies. And since summit conclusions are adopted unanimously, they are often underwhelming commitments to promote growth and tackle a long list of global ills.
While easy to deride as empty “talk shops,” these meetings have been important vehicles for American leadership. Since the crisis, a commitment to forswear protectionist measures has been a regular fixture. If nothing else, anchored around American priorities, the talk has been important in requiring leaders to explain their plans to support global growth and in forcing their governments to debate disagreements.
This year, however, the agendas may have slipped their anchor. Following an election campaign in the United States that promised a reappraisal of traditional trade strategies, punishment for currency manipulators and a commitment to bring jobs home, the summits promise more confrontation than compromise. The administration’s logic appears founded less on shared gains and more on winners and losers. The communiqués may actually make for interesting reading…
G7, 26th-27th May, Sicily
The entity formerly known as the G8 convenes without Russia since the Ukrainian crisis. While the new Italian government will have had little time to shape the agenda, there will be plenty of drama in President Trump’s first summit appearance. (France will have a new president, too.) European leaders will want to know the Trump administration’s reaction to Brexit. Will the US launch free trade negotiations with Britain? Will these take precedence over…