At G20, tensions among US, China, Russia cloud economic agenda

 The summit is taking place at a time when cooperation on economic difficulties among the United States, China, and Russia is less likely than before due to tensions between the three countries.

The G20 is the most important economic conference in the world, and its job is to find workable answers to the most pressing issues affecting the global economy.

The club of top economies has more formidable problems than normal this year as it prepares for its main summit on Tuesday and Wednesday in Bali.

With the conflict in Ukraine and China's "zero COVID" regulations causing supply chain disruptions, inflation is near 40-year highs in several nations.

There is growing concern that the world could soon tumble from a cost-of-living crisis into a worldwide recession as central banks increase interest rates to contain runaway prices.

At the same time, the world's main economies, including the United States, China, and others, are under increasing pressure to take swift and decisive measures to avert an impending climate crisis.

Despite the summit's upbeat slogan, "Recover Together, Recover Stronger," it seems unlikely that the United States and its allies will be able to work together with China and Russia at the first summit since the invasion of Ukraine.

"The issue of inflation, which is immediate, and the longer term issue of having more sustainable growth to minimize our carbon footprint requires global cooperation," said Trinh Nguyen, a senior economist for developing Asia at Natixis in Hong Kong, speaking to Al Jazeera.

Therefore, it is a challenge for the G20 to unite leaders with different geopolitical stances to find common ground and long-term solutions to issues.

Inflation, which has "impacted everyone from consumers that find essentials more expensive to corporations," Nguyen added, "will top the agenda, bar none."

A more connected global supply chain that is less susceptible to geopolitical shocks like Russia's invasion of Ukraine is another problem that Nguyen said the G20 would face.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the COVID-19 pandemic, supply-chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine, and increasing fuel prices will contribute to global inflation reaching 8.8 percent in 2022, up from 4.7 percent in 2021.

Disagreement over Ukraine has made it difficult for the Group of Twenty (G20), which consists of 19 countries and the European Union, to reach a consensus on the cost-of-living crisis. In July, finance ministers and central bank governors abandoned a communique that would have addressed inflation, global food and supply shortages, and sluggish economic growth.

Indonesia, the summit's host, has emphasized the possibilities for collaboration on food and energy security while resisting pleas from the West and Ukraine to exclude Russia.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed concern that geopolitical concerns will overshadow the summit in an interview with a local newspaper last week.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stormed out of G20 talks in Indonesia in July after criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was voiced, and in April, representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada walked out of a closed-door session when Russian delegates began to speak.


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