NAGOYA, Japan – The foreign ministers of the Group of 20 countries began their meeting Saturday in the Japanese city of Nagoya, where they were set to discuss the effects of geopolitical and trade tensions and progress towards sustainable development goals, among other issues.
This meeting in the central Japanese city marks the conclusion to Japan’s rotating presidency of the 20 most industrialized and emerging countries, before Saudi Arabia chairs the summit in 2020.
The foreign ministers on Saturday were to hold three work meetings, the first of them focused on the promotion of free trade and global governance, in which they were expected to discuss measures such as the reform of the World Trade Organization and coordination of fiscal policies on digital economy.
Under the Japanese presidency, the G20 has supported the creation of the so-called “digital tax,” designed to increase the tax burden on multinational tech firms. The details of this proposed fiscal policy are expected to be defined next year.
The meeting takes place at a time of prolonged trade tensions between China and the United States, whose negative effects on the global economy had already been highlighted, albeit indirectly, by the G20 in its concluding text at the Osaka summit in June.
At the second meeting on Saturday, the ministers were scheduled to discuss the progress made towards the sustainable development goals, a set of targets set by the United Nations in 2015 for 2030 on issues such as poverty, health, gender equality, environmental protection, access to education and energy.
Sources within the Japanese team revealed that they expected the G20 members to commit to “action” over the next decade in order to achieve these goals, which – according to a panel of experts in a report published by the UN in September – are at risk due to the global increase in inequality and the effects of climate change.
The G20 foreign ministers were then expected to move on to deliberations on development aid in Africa, with the aim of boosting infrastructure investments in the continent and promoting the efforts of African actors to contribute towards peace and security.
A number of bilateral meetings were also planned on the sidelines of ministerial meetings, including one between Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, on the issue of rapprochement between the neighboring countries engaged in an ongoing diplomatic and trade dispute.