G-20 aims for more prosperous global economy

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially welcomes IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially welcomes IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane.

G-20 finance ministers are determined to do whatever it takes to boost growth and create new jobs for a more prosperous global economy.

The ministers met in Brisbane for their fifth and final meeting under Australia’s Presidency in 2014.

“The focus of our efforts this year are based on a collective determination to deliver more economic growth and, as a result of that, more jobs,” said a statement from Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Hockey said: “When we first met in February, we agreed to an agenda that was seen as ambitious at the time — a time of challenging economic circumstances. Through hard work and strong resolve, I am very pleased we have delivered on that plan for the G20 Leaders.”

The statement said: “At the beginning of the year we faced an uncertain outlook for the global economy. We discussed the implications of US tapering and our concerns about the resilience of European financial institutions. We focussed on the need to address weaknesses in the global tax system.”

It said: “We announced the Sydney Declaration to lift growth by more than 2 percent by 2018, an unprecedented break from business as usual for the G-20.”

This ambition translates into around $2 trillion in additional global economic activity and millions of new jobs.

“While we still face economic challenges in many parts of the world, I am optimistic our 2 percent commitment will deliver the growth the world needs,” added the statement.

“I want to emphasize that my Finance Minister colleagues and I are resolute in our determination to use all policy levers to generate growth and jobs,” it added.

“Today we discussed the current economic outlook. We welcomed the support for global activity flowing from the Asia region and the signs of growth in the US, the UK, Spain and Canada,” added the G-20 statement on the finance ministers’ meeting in Brisbane.

“We also discussed the challenges of delivering growth in Japan and Europe,” said Hockey.

The statement added: “Our individual growth strategies include over 1000 measures that will lift infrastructure investment, increase trade and competition, cut red tape and lift labor market participation. This has been a year of promise and delivery for the G-20.”

It said: “At the beginning of the year, everyone knew that there was an infrastructure investment gap, but there was no plan to deal with it. Finance Ministers met over dinner in Sydney and came away with a clear sense of what the challenges were and a resolve to do something about it.”

Hockey said: “So in Cairns in September, we delivered on a Global Infrastructure Initiative, and we are now working toward a Global Infrastructure Hub that will partner with the private sector to facilitate billions of dollars of new investment.”

The statement said: “At the beginning of the year, we faced a large and unfocussed financial regulation agenda. We needed to substantially complete that agenda if we were to provide certainty and resilience for the financial system.”

It said: “Thanks to the significant effort of Mark Carney and the Financial Stability Board we have delivered on our commitments, which included implementing initiatives to strengthen banking system, addressing risks in the shadow banking sector, making derivatives markets safer and addressing the problem of banks that are too big to fail. This will make the global financial system safer and more resilient to future challenges.”

Hockey said: “At the beginning of the year we set out to restore integrity and resilience to our tax bases, and give our citizens the confidence that everyone is paying their fair share of tax.”

He said: “Now I can say that we will bring international tax rules into the 21st century and ensure the rules keep pace with changing business models.”

The statement added: “We have reached consensus on all of the 2014 OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan deliverables, and this keeps the action plan on track for completion in 2015.”

He said: “Our effort has continued right up to this Summit, and I welcome the recent proposal to amend certain intellectual property regimes or ‘patent boxes’ to ensure that they are not inappropriately used for tax avoidance. This proposal continues our work on harmful tax practices and I commend it to other G20 and OECD members for their consideration.”

Hockey said: “We are also increasing transparency to crack down on tax cheats. Australia is among the countries leading the way on automatic information exchange initiatives.”

It has been a remarkable year with a strong sense of cooperation and goodwill amongst the membership, said the G-20 statement.

With the G-20 representing 85 percent of the world economy, our collective achievements represent a significant outcome – it shows again what the G20 can do when we all work together.

“While we have worked hard this year, we must maintain our momentum – we have to continue to implement what we have agreed,” said the statement.

Hockey said Turkey has identified next year as a year of ‘deeds’.

In Cairns, Minister Babacan emphasized that there would be seamless continuity from this year’s agenda.

“The G-20 will focus on the implementation of our collective commitments. We will hold each other to account for our actions,” said Hockey.

“Our optimism for the future is based on the plans that I have outlined,” said the statement.

“I repeat, finance ministers are determined to do whatever it takes to boost growth and create new jobs for a more prosperous global economy,” it added.

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