Business leaders call on G20 to resist protectionism

G20’s business outreach arm makes appeal following election of Donald Trump

German chancellor Angela Merkel: she wants to safeguard multilateral co-operation among the G20 economies. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

German chancellor Angela Merkel: she wants to safeguard multilateral co-operation among the G20 economies. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

 

A group of business executives has urged the group of 20 leading economies to resist the temptation to take protectionist measures and to foster international economic cooperation.

Germany took over the G20 presidency last week, a platform the chancellor, Angela Merkel, wants to use to safeguard multilateral co-operation under threat following Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.

The B20, the G20’s business outreach arm, said popular concerns about trade liberalisation should be taken seriously but that “seemingly easy solutions risk having long-term negative consequences for business, workers, and consumers”.

“We urge governments to resist the temptation to resort to protectionist measures such as trade barriers or investment restrictions,” the B20 said in a statement dated December 8th, a copy of which Reuters obtained on Friday. “The challenges of globalisation cannot be solved within national borders,” it added. “The G20 is an important forum for international economic co-operation.”

The statement was signed by corporate executives including the chief executives of chemicals group BASF, Deutsche Bank and ecommerce giant Alibaba.

German officials, while acknowledging privately that they will not have an easy ride leading the G20, stress that the motto for their presidency – “Shaping an Interconnected World” – indicates they want to take globalisation forward through international co-operation rather than roll it back. – (Reuters)