The Russian president outlined Russia’s agenda for the G20 summit, drawing lines against President Trump on trade, climate change, and migration.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet with President Trump at the G20 Summit on Friday, penned an op-ed for the German paper Handelsblatt Global laying out “The Russian Agenda” for the summit. In his piece, Putin, without directly mentioning the American president, staked out firm stances opposed to Trump’s world view.
In his first thinly veiled shot at Trump, Putin attacked attempts to rein in globalization:
Protectionism is becoming the norm, while unilateral, politically motivated restrictions on trade and investment, as well as technology transfer, are nothing but masked protectionism. We believe that these sanctions are not only doomed to fail, but also run counter to the G20 principles of cooperation in the interests of all countries.
At the beginning of this month, Axios reported that Trump has been mulling a 20 percent tariff on steel imports. As NTK previously reported, a steel tariff “would also adversely affect Russia, whose steel industry constitutes 6 percent of all U.S. steel imports and ranks seventh in exporters to the United States.”
For all of Trump’s policy fluidity during his first six months, the president has remained firm in his commitment to tougher global trade deals, bringing up the issue constantly and in a variety of settings. If Putin brings up the trade issue with the American president on Friday, he can certainly expect a fight.
Putin also touted Russia’s adherence to various international climate change agreements a month after Trump announced the U.S.’s withdrawl from the Paris Climate Accords. Putin wrote:
As a leading country within the international climate process, Russia has exceeded its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. In other words, we have compensated for the growing emissions in other countries and regions. We view the Paris Agreement of April 2016 as a reliable international legal framework for a lasting climate settlement and intend to do our best to facilitate its implementation.
On the other hand, when he withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to American nationalism, saying, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
And in a third shot at Trump, Putin seemed to signal approval for Western Europe’s handling of the refugee crisis:
The G20 has been working on issues related to the migrants’ integration in the host countries’ labor markets, as well as their cultural adaptation and social protection. In addition, the G20 has formulated decisions this year that could help settle the issue of forced displacement. They are based on the strengthening of regional and global stability and the economic growth of the countries that are generating the unprecedented numbers of refugees.
The refugee crisis and the reaction of most Western European countries to grant entry to millions of migrants has driven a wedge between Trump and European leaders. Trump’s relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suffered in particular as a result of their opposing views on the refugee crisis.
If Putin expects to raise refugee migration in addition to climate change and trade with Trump, he will be challenging the American president on three of his most unyielding positions.
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