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G-20 nods India's view; to continue stimulus package

Last updated on: September 25, 2009 11:52 IST

Signs are seen near the site of the upcoming G20 Pittsburgh summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Taking on board the concerns of India and other countries, leaders of the G-20 countries comprising the world's major economies have decided to continue the stimulus package to quicken global economic recovery.

The leaders from the US, UK, France, China and others reached a historic agreement to put the group at the centre of their efforts to build a roadmap for durable recovery, avoiding the financial fragilities that led to the crisis.

"Today, leaders endorsed the G-20 as the premier forum for their international economic cooperation. This decision brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy, reform the financial system, and lift the lives of the poorest," the White House said in a statement after US President Barack Obama hosted a dinner for the heads of government that included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Amidst demands by some European government heads that an exit policy should be made to end the stimulus package agreed in London, the draft declaration of the summit is believed to have stressed the need for continuance of the booster dose notwithstanding green shoots of recovery seen in some countries.

At the London summit in April, the G-20 leaders agreed to pump in $1.1 billion to lift the global economy hit by last year's financial crisis triggering the collapse of many leading financial institutions.

The draft declaration is understood to reflect India's view that it was too early to adopt an exit strategy from the stimulus package, but left it to individual countries to adopt measures after some time, Indian officials involved in the hectic negotiations said.

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was India's pointsman in the negotiations as Singh met world leaders.

At the dinner on Thursday night, the prime minister and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, were warmly received by Obama and the First Lady, Mitchelle.

After an affectionate handshake, the prime minister had some consultations with him for a couple of minutes before they got into deliberations in the environment-friendly Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, called the 'Green Heart of Pittsburgh.'

The White House statement said dramatic changes in the world economy have not always been reflected in the global architecture for economic cooperation.

"This all started to change today. The G-20 leaders reached a historic agreement to put the G-20 at the centre of their efforts to work together to build a durable recovery while avoiding the financial fragilities that led to the crisis," it said.

Establishing the G-20 as the Premier Global Economic Forum, Obama called on the world's leaders to reform global economic institutions to meet the needs of an interconnected world economy.

"Today, leaders endorsed the G-20 as the premier forum for their international economic cooperation. This decision brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy, reform the financial system, and lift the lives of the poorest," the White House said.

This builds on the decision made in April in London to expand the Financial Stability Board to include all G-20 countries and to add all the G-20 members to the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information.

"The Financial Stability Board is central to our efforts to develop and implement sweeping reforms to transform the system of global regulation.

The Global Forum is the primary vehicle in the G-20's effort to promote greater tax transparency," it said.

The draft communique is also believed to be strongly worded against any protectionism in trade, investment, services and capital flows and attempts to yield to such temptation in the face of crisis.

The WTO report on the issue has said that countries have broadly avoided the tendency to resort to protectionism but occasional violations have also been seen in the last six months. The US Government's decision to impose hefty duty on import of Chinese tyres is being cited by opponents of protectionism.

The prime minister has already said that the summit should send a strong message against protectionism in all its forms and that it should not be business as usual for countries because the global economy is yet to come out of the woods.

The declaration also endorses India's stand for reforms of international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to reflect ground realities by giving greater say in their affairs for emerging economies.

The US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, said a substantial additional progress in Pittsburgh over what the summit did in London is to add in effect a fourth pillar to the architecture of cooperation established after the Second World War.

The US Treasury Secretary said that to the IMF, GATT and WTO, the fourth pillar Financial Stability Board has been added.

"And that forum again brings together central banks, finance ministers, supervisors of banks, market regulators, like the SEC and the CFTC, the accounting standard settersĀ -- brings them together and tries to forge consensus on standards, so we can have, again, common standards applied globally," Geithner said.

He underlined that the G-20 leaders want to have very strong standards to limit the risk that compensation practices in the world's largest institutions encourage.

"So we have laid out a really far-reaching set of pretty detailed standards to underscore that commitment. But we've also made it clear that we are going to move each country to put in place the mix of regulations, laws, supervisory measures, that are necessary to give those standards force," he said.

"We're going to measure progress against those standards, report on progress, and we're going to let an independent agency -- in this case, the Financial Stability Board -- assess progress against those standards," Geithner underlined.

The draft declaration also favours broad political consensus towards successful conclusion of the climate change summit.

Image: Signs are seen near the site of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. | Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

V S Chandrasekar and Lalit K Jha in Pittsburgh
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