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23 September 2017
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What is G20 success for Obama?

What would...

What would qualify as success for U.S. President Barack Obama at the G20 summit he hosts in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday?, according to Reuters.

Here is a look issue-by-issue from Reuters correspondents reporting on the summit:

MACROECONOMICS

Alister Bull

The U.S. proposal to rebalance the global economy -- smoothing out the huge trade and current account surpluses in export-driven countries such as China while debtor nations like the United States save more -- would take years to implement.

But Obama could claim as a success any signals of support in Pittsburgh from other G20 leaders for the U.S. plan to launch in November reviews by the International Monetary Fund of national economic policies.

Any avoidance of talk among G20 leaders of quick moves to remove their huge economic stimulus -- which could unsettle financial markets -- would be a success too.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Jeff Mason

G20 finance ministers were unable to make substantial progress on climate finance before the summit. If Obama is able to show any sign of movement, it would be a success.

Separately, if Obama can persuade G20 nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, the administration would paint that as a victory for the climate and the economy.

FINANCIAL REGULATION

Kevin Drawbaugh

Obama will earn an A+ at the summit if he can forge agreements, with substantive details and timetables for implementation, on restraining executive pay and writing new bank capital and liquidity rules.

Another sign of success would be accords on regulating over-the-counter derivatives, combating offshore tax shelters, converging global accounting standards and bringing more government oversight to hedge funds.

TRADE

Doug Palmer

Success on trade might be to divert attention from the fact that Obama does not have a strong agenda to open new markets and is increasingly being perceived as a protectionist. The rebalancing initiative would presumably boost U.S. exports -- and so his popularity with domestic industry.

IMF/WORLD BANK

Lesley Wroughton

Success would mean getting the G20 to commit to specific targets for increasing the IMF voting power of large emerging market countries.

Will it be a 5 percent shift in voting power from developed countries to some "dynamic" emerging economies as proposed by the United States? Or 7 percent as proposed by main emerging economies?

Obama would also be successful if he got the G20 to agree on the management of $20 billion in commitments to increase investment in agriculture in developing countries.

While countries pledged the funding in July at a Group of Eight summit in Italy, there has been no progress on an overseer for the process -- whether the World Bank or a combination of the World Bank and U.N. agencies including the World Food Program.

U.S. LEADERSHIP

Caren Bohan

Obama hopes for a reassuring message about the global economy, which was in worse straits when the G20 last convened in London five months ago.

Playing host to the G20 offers him a chance to show leadership on the world stage, where he remains popular but is facing new doubts about his ability to deliver on his agenda. It could also bolster him at home, where his popularity has been sliding.

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