In particular, they are divided over their attitudes toward globalisation. It is globalisation that has significantly increased the degree of interconnection between the world’s economies. And it is this interconnection that drives the need for international discussion and cooperation – via events such as the G20.
But this last year has seen as a loud backlash against globalisation. There was the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US on a protectionist ticket. This is ironic given that they are two of the world’s biggest economies (at least for the time being). Both have been major drivers of globalisation and have benefited enormously from it.
But now both countries are calling the future of globalisation into question. Two sides have emerged in the debate over whether or not globalisation is a good thing and whether or not nation states should be more protective and inward-looking.
On the one hand, some G20 countries emphasise the benefits of ongoing and increased levels of cooperation between countries and regional trading blocs. These countries, such as Germany and Canada, seek to tackle the issues caused by globalisation at the global scale. This is not a homogeneous group, but there is a broad consensus that the high degree of interconnection between the world’s economies is not easily unpicked, nor is it desirable to try to do so.