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Ensuring a Smooth Transition from Hangzhou to Hamburg

Denisse Rudich, G20 Research Group
October 4, 2016

Germany will take over the G20 presidency from China on 1 December 2016 and will host the G20 summit on July 7 and 8, 2017, in the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg.

China had adopted a very ambitious theme for its 2016 summit in Hangzhou: "Towards an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy." For the Hangzhou Summit, Germany worked to ensure that the G20 had positive outcomes in key policy areas covered under the summit themes while also looking to push forward additional priorities for its domestic economy. Germany further indicated that it would carry the significant initiatives made at the Hangzhou Summit forward to Hamburg.

Given the current state of world affairs, at Hangzhou the G20 leaders needed to come together to reignite global economic growth to meet the 2% additional growth by 2018 target they set at the G20 Brisbane Summit in 2014 and to promote market confidence and financial stability. World events such as Brexit, political uncertainty with the coming U.S. elections, and the slowdown in the Chinese economy, combined with allegations of grand-scale corruption rocking countries such as Brazil, continued to have massive destabilizing effects on global markets. The G20 needed to flex its political muscle as the premier forum at the international level to address both geopolitical and systemic issues that affect the global economy. In particular, the G20 needed to focus on countering the protectionist sentiment sweeping much of the world.

It was anticipated that at Hangzhou Germany would seek commitments with other countries in the following areas:

For a successful transition from the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit to the 2017 Hamburg Summit, Germany must collaborate with its Chinese partners through the G20's troika system of outgoing, current and incoming hosts, set up to ensure continuity. During a visit to China in June, Merkel said "We are very interested in working with China in this process. Germany will host next year's G20 summit. This is why we want to carry parts of the agenda forward, thus creating close cooperation."
China and Germany issued a joint declaration in June in which they indicated that they wanted to:

They also intend to further develop global governance, address climate change and tackle other core international challenges.

Following on from the ambitious four "I's" theme of the G20 Chinese presidency, Germany's G20 presidency will need to maintain the momentum from the Hangzhou Summit to fight the forces of protectionism, unilateralism and nationalism and other geopolitical factors that are threatening the global economy. These include health, well beyond the brief attention paid to antimicrobial resistance at Hangzhou; the refugee crisis; terrorism and radicalization; the development of an open economy; and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At Hangzhou, Germany's Angela Merkel and India's Narendra Modi also highlighted that there is nothing that erodes public confidence in our governance more than tax evasion and corruption. It is therefore anticipated that Merkel will also add tax transparency, BEPS and corruption at Hamburg.

More specifically, the Hangzhou communiqué stated that the G20 would work in 2017 on the following issues:

Key to success are two things that Germany does rather well: play a leading role in setting the global agenda and act as a stabilizing global force through multilateral engagement at various international fora. Germany is in a unique position as a member of the G7, G20, United Nations, OECD and the European Union to orchestrate agreement among multiple actors with competing interests at the summit it will host summit in 2017 and to help ensure that Brexit does not disrupt market confidence, financial stability and trust.

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Denisse Rudich
Denisse Rudich is the director of the G20 Research Group's London Office. She has more than 15 years of experience working in the private and public sectors on financial crime prevention, including anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, anti-bribery, and corruption and sanctions. She is currently a strategic advisor to senior management in a top-tier bank. She regularly attends G20 and G7 summits as a member of the G20 and G7 Research Groups' field teams, and is a contributor to Reuters.