Leaders of the countries that comprise the Group of 20 industrial and developing economies delayed until next year any action to address trade and growth imbalances among its members.
The Wall Street Journalreports the delay in defining the external imbalances they previously vowed to address represents a blurring of what at first had appeared to be clear goals designed to counter the growing threat of trade and currency wars.
The U.S. and G-20 host South Korea ran into strong opposition from such exporting powers as China and Germany to a proposal to quantify limits on current-account surpluses and deficits.
The Journal notes that at the heart of the controversy are fundamental issues of how countries would need to restructure their economies.
"These are not going to be easy issues to resolve," said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "But I think we've got everyone talking the same language, everyone understanding longer-term what has to be done."