You know that when politicians or other bureaucrats say something like that at the end of a meeting, it generally means, “Nothing got done, nothing will get done, but we’ll keep yammering anyway.”
That was the case in March when G20 finance ministers met in Buenos Aires to discuss global trade policy – a meeting that produced no concrete agreement.
Last weekend, they reconvened in Argentina’s capital, with the International Monetary Fund and central bank governors.
The result? Not so much “further dialogue,” but a stark warning…
Warning Shots Fired in Buenos Aires
It came amid the latest trade jousting, with the United States threatening tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese exports.
Not only would this significantly escalate the trade war, it would affect U.S. consumers and businesses – and, in turn, the economy, given the amount of goods that China sends to the United States.
In 2017, China shipped almost one-fifth of its exports to America – a total of $505.6 billion. And $207.9 billion of that was subject to tariffs. But due to trade imbalances, America’s deficit with China is $375.5 billion.
The recent tensions led the IMF to caution last month that ongoing action – and escalation – would hit the U.S. economy and global GDP. Last weekend, it warned that “in the worst-case scenario… [a decline] in the range of 0.5% of GDP on a global basis,” according to Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
It means global GDP will peak at 3.9% this year and in 2019.