US President Donald Trump wins key climate, trade franchises at stormy G20 summit

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President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump won key franchises on climate and trade today from world leaders at the most fractious G20 summit to date, in exchange for preserving the unity of the club of major industrialized and emerging economies. In a final statement agreed by all 20 economies, 19 members including Russia, China and the European Union recognized Trump’s decision to go his own way on taking the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. But they also housed Washington’s wish to “work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently”.

While renewing a key anti-protective pledge, the communique for the first time underlined the right of countries to protect their markets with “legitimate trade defence instruments”. Such wording gives room for Trump to push on with his “America First” policy. Carried on a wave of public fury over deindustrialization in vast areas of the United States, Trump had promised to “Buy American” and “Hire American”. But that stance had set him in contradiction of many of America’s allies, who warned Trump against an isolationist path. But, the wording of the final agreement marked the group of top economies’ decision to finally close ranks despite bitter differences.

Just behind the tightly secured G20 summit venue, well-cooked road barricades, trashed shops and stones, debris and devastated glass bore testimony to an anarchic night, when police commandoes with semi-automatic weapons detained militants who hurled rocks from rooftops. The clashes had blocked US First Lady Melania Trump at her residence on Friday, forcing her to miss a tour of Hamburg harbour, and for G20 organisers to completely alter a programme for spouses of visiting bests.

Today, thousands of anti-riot cops were on standby and airplanes hovered overhead, as some 70,000 people were on the march again, according to organizers. Within the summit walls, meetings have also been anything but musical. All eyes were also on Trump’s diplomatic waltz during the billionaire’s first outing to the summit. His most keenly awaited encounter was a head-to-head with Russia’s strongman President