Trade Wars

Obama Runs Into Trouble at G-20

This guy just can’t get a break. President Obama hoped to leave the Group of 20 trade summit boasting a free-trade agreement with South Korea and a host of accords with other countries, but he looks like he might leave Seoul empty-handed. A trade pact between the U.S. and South Korea, first negotiated by the Bush administration, failed to materialize after Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak couldn’t agree on protections for American workers. Major disputes erupted between the U.S., China, Britain, Germany and Brazil, as each country rejected Obama’s strategy to focus on economic growth before deficit reduction. The international community, joined by former U.S. Fed Chief Alan Greenspan, accused the U.S. of intentionally devaluing its currency to give an edge to American exports. The tone of the summit was a stark departure from recent meetings on the global economy, in which leaders largely came to agreement on economic policy.