The Group of 20 major economies do not plan to make a pledge on fighting protectionism at their summit this weekend, despite the increasing need to promote free trade to prop up the global economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Monday.
The G-20 leaders have refrained from vowing to combat protectionism in joint communiques at their summits in the last two years in the face of opposition from the United States, which has implemented protectionist trade measures under President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.
This year's meeting on Saturday and Sunday is also expected to stop short of referring to efforts necessary to tackle climate change, after the United States earlier in the month formally withdrew from the Paris climate accord as a result of Trump's decision in 2017.
The leaders, however, will likely agree to cooperate in speeding up the development of a coronavirus vaccine for widespread use with the United States, Europe and some countries in other regions seeing a resurgence of infections, the sources said.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reverse some of Trump's major policy decisions. He has made it clear that the United States will return to the 2015 Paris accord but his trade policy remains largely unknown.
The former U.S. vice president has said he would work with allies and partners to address China's alleged unfair trade practices and other behavior deemed as going against international rules.
The G-20 nations will also discuss a plan to support developing countries in addressing the pandemic, with measures including providing coronavirus vaccines at lower prices and reducing their debts to help them fund steps to curb infections and ease the economic fallout, according to the sources.
This year's summit was originally scheduled to be held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, but it was switched to a teleconference due to the pandemic.
The G-20 groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
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