The G20's term president Argentina has completed its one-year presidency marathon with the Leaders' summit, which took place over the weekend. Starting from December until the end of November 2019, Japan will hold the term presidency.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held important meetings with world leaders on the sideline of the G20 summit. The U.S. administration, without a doubt, saw the Erdoğan-Trump negotiation critically important, evident in the serious statement White House issued after the meeting.
The Leaders' summit has also witnessed a critical Trump-Xi meeting with regards to the future of the highly tense trade wars between the U.S. and China. Although the meeting between the two leaders came to the fore because of the "trade wars" issue, it also stood out as a "chess" game of strategic superiority on the next leader of global political economy.
As the current term president, Argentina brought together the leaders under the main theme "consensus for fair and sustainable development." For the G20 Group, which consists of 19 distinguished countries and the European Union, it was a chance to establish a "common idea ground" and "consensus" in line with the main theme and they shared their views on three main issues.
The first of these matters was the future of working, namely of labor supply and demand and business life; the second was infrastructure for development; and the third was the future of sustainable food.
There is an intense pressure of digital transformation in the world economy. Robotics, artificial intelligence, and new generation automation systems are creating risks for jobs and labor force employment across industries - from manufacturing, agriculture, and the services sector to finance. On the other hand, in order to provide sustainable and high-quality life opportunities for the world's rapidly growing population of 9 billion, new generation financing sources and technologies are required for mega infrastructure projects.
Due to the same reasons, a new generation of the middle class is slowly emerging whose average living standard and purchasing power are rising; all the while the world's demand for agriculture and food products is growing exponentially. Therefore, it is also very important to plan the future of sustainable food. Otherwise, the tensions that carry the risk of "hot conflict" we observe today for oil and natural gas, will actually spread to this area after a decade because of the rapid folding of the world's agricultural product, food and clean water demand.
'Khashoggi' shadow over G20
Argentina's President Macri, in his opening speech calling for global solutions to global issues, touched on the importance of dialogue between the G20 countries. In a digitalizing world, where people can now access all kinds of information in a matter of seconds differences needed to be respected more, he said.
Macri, who mentioned that G20 countries should make more use of the opportunities they have in their reach, emphasized that all G20 countries should agree to support sustainable development and contribute to international cooperation and multilateralism.
The most curiosity-arising subject of the G20 was the situation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). In addition to the White House statement that U.S. President Trump had only a brief greeting with MBS - who was said to have preferred to move from the hotel to the Saudi Embassy, following the rumor that Argentine prosecutor's had started an investigation.
British Prime Minister May called for full co-operation with the authorities on the Khashoggi murder. French President Macron, who had a brief meeting with the crown prince at the summit, suggested that international experts should join the investigation.
While President Erdoğan's net attitude of "disregard" while he was passing by MBS was all over the international press, Erdoğan was the only leader at the summit who held long critical talks with the most number of world leaders. While the G20 should be a platform for values, the air of intimacy between MBS and Putin even surprised the Russian press and the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was odd.
In the final declaration of the summit, it was emphasized that the international order should be maintained in accordance with the rules - despite the objections of the U.S. - the Paris Climate Agreement should be enforced the same and that some functions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were insufficient and they should be reformed.
The declaration also strongly condemned all kinds of terrorism and added that they were standing behind the declaration of the fight against terrorism announced at the G20 summit in Hamburg.
In the last article of the declaration, it was disclosed that the 2019 G20 meetings will be held in Japan and the summit in 2020 will be held in Saudi Arabia.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) President Christine Lagarde, on the other hand, warned the G20 countries that trade war tensions should decrease and countries should urgently withdraw the increased customs tariffs and that trade wars carried out by raising customs and taxes would only slow down global economic growth.