G20 leaders near agreement, if not progress
Coex Convention Centre, the venue of the G20 summit REUTERS

The G20 Seoul summit for world government leaders has officially started Thursday night in Seoul. Local time there is 14 hours ahead of New York.

Represented entities include 24 countries, the European Union, the IMF, the World Bank, the Untied Nations, the World Trade Organization, the OECD, the African Union, then ASEAN, and the International Labour Organization. For each of the 24 countries, the head of state and about two finance officials are attending the summit.

The G20 Seoul summit aims to ensure ongoing global recovery, developed a framework for long-term sustained and balance growth, strengthen the international financial regulatory system for banks, and modernize international financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank.

In the short-term, it seeks to support the less-than-robust global recovery and further enhance international cooperation to generate growth. The phrase international cooperation references the growing currency and trade tensions among the United States, China, and several other countries.

The global currency war will likely dominate discussions at the Seoul summit. World politicians, and especially business leaders, are trying to avoid the clamping down of international trade and ward off the specter of deglobalization.

In addition, the summit aims to strengthen global financial safety nets, which protect emerging market economies from the disruptive capital inflow and outflow they experienced during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. G20 leaders acknowledge the 1997 experience is at least partially responsible for the accumulation of large foreign exchange reserves by certain developing countries.

The summit will also seek to address income and development gaps, with a focus on the needs of the poorest countries.

The G20 summit of political leaders comes after the conclusion of the global business summit, which produced a joint statement urging world politicians to revitalize the private economy and global trade.