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Trump 1, free trade 0: G20 nations bows to US pressure

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Berlin, March 19: The world’s biggest economies have dropped a long-standing public endorsement of free trade at their first meeting with the US President Donald Trump’s administration.

Finance Ministers and central bank Governors from the G-20 group of leading economies, including the US, China, Mexico, Germany and India, held two days of tough talking in the German town of Baden-Baden.

The formal statement issued after the meeting on Saturday contained only a bland reference to “working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies”, CNN reported.

Conspicuous by its absence was the phrase “we will resist all forms of protectionism” that was contained in the communique from the last meeting of the group in China in July 2016.

It also did not contain a pledge to finance efforts to combat climate change, Efe news said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, however, downplayed the content of the statement.

“This is my first G20, so what was in the past communique is not necessarily relevant from my standpoint,” Mnuchin said.

In a press conference afterward, he described the meeting as extremely productive and stressed that Trump’s administration believed in free trade.

However, he added that it was good for the US as long as it was balanced.

He said the US, which since Trump took office has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and called for the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) to be renegotiated, was looking to enter into trade deals that are a “win-win” situation for the parties involved.

The Finance Minister of host Germany, Wolfgang Schauble, said for his part that the negotiations were very difficult but that a door had been left open for future talks.

He added that the final communique contained language that was not very concrete but which reflected the economies’ shared commitment to fair trade, as demanded by the US, and rejection of currency manipulation.

Trump has accused two G20 members, China and Japan, of currency manipulation, while one of his top trade advisers has leveled the same complaint against Germany.

Given the opposition from the US and Saudi Arabia, the G20’s communique also differed from its 2016 statement in that no reference was made to the members’ readiness to finance the battle against climate change.

IANS

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Germany wants to strengthen multilateralism with China: Merkel

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country wants to strengthen multilateralism with China and she is looking forward to her visit to China next week.

Merkel will visit China next Thursday and Friday at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. It will be her first trip to China after re-election and the 11th as the German chancellor, Xinhua news agency reported.

Merkel said in a podcast published on Saturday that as Germany and China have agreed on regular political dialogue and intergovernmental consultations, she went to China to conduct these talks on average once a year.

Germany and China have carried out very close cooperation within G20, Merkel said, adding that during her upcoming visit the two sides will talk about bilateral relations, rule of law, China’s development, economy and other international affairs.

“We want to strengthen multilateralism. And that will play a role in our discussion,” said Merkel.

Merkel will also visit Shenzhen, an economic hub in China’s southern Guangdong Province.

“I am glad that I’m going to Shenzhen this time as well. I have regularly visited provinces in China, not just the capital. I am again and again aware of the dynamics and the extent to which China is developing,” Merkel said.

The German Chancellor said she was very interested in visiting Shenzhen where China’s economic opening-up began and where there are many German companies.

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Royal Wedding: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle marry at Windsor Castle

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New Delhi, May 19: It’s the most anticipated wedding of the year: Prince Harry married US actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle here on Saturday (May 19).

prince harry Meghan Markle

Meghan became the first royal bride to walk herself up the aisle at a royal wedding. She was met halfway by Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall, who walked her down the aisle of the Quire of the chapel. Her father Thomas Markle was unable to attend due to health issues.

The marriage between Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, and Meghan, an American actor who lived for years in Toronto, has drawn intense interest worldwide.

Among the 600 celebrity guests invited to the St. George Chapel were internationally acclaimed Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Tom Hardy, James Corden, James Blunt and Carey Mulligan among others.

Tennis star Serena Williams and rugby star Jonny Wilkinson were also present.

The ceremony took place in presence of Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, Prince William, his wife Catherine, Prince Harry’s uncle, Earl Spencer; the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson; and Catherine’s sister Pippa Middleton.

Watch all the Live Updates of Royal Wedding here: 

Here comes the beautiful royal bride:

Handsome groom:

Harry and Markle becomeDuke and Duchess of Sussex on their Wedding Day: Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the dukedom on her grandson in the morning, with his wife-to-be automatically becoming a duchess. Prince Harry’s titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel.

“The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel,” according to the royal statement.

“Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex,” it said.

The couple will wed at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

People flocking the streets to welcome the bride and groom.

WeForNews

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Trump nominates Harris as US ambassador to South Korea

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Washington, May 19: US President Donald Trump picked Admiral Harry Harris as the next US ambassador to the South Korea, the White House said on Friday.

Harris, 61, currently serves as the commander of US Pacific Command. He was previously nominated as the US ambassador to Australia, Xinhua news agency reported.

The post of the US ambassador to South Korea has remained unfilled since Trump took office in 2017.

It has been reported that the White House withdrew its nomination of Victor Cha, a veteran Korea expert, in January for the post because of Cha’s opposition to military options against North Korea.

Harris still needs the Senate confirmation to assume the post.

IANS

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