Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Summary and Analysis: G20 heads of state meeting," Bretton Woods Project, November 17, 2008.

  No mention of is made of who will be asked to join the expanded FSF, though it is made clear that it will only be large emerging markets and not any of the smaller or poorer economies that are currently facing economic crises due to the global events.

Despite being billed as a 'Bretton Woods 2' meeting, the first G20 heads of state meeting in Washington in mid-November agreed little of substance, and was criticised for an opaque, closed preparation process.

No specific follow-up meeting has yet been agreed, but deadlines for initial actions are set for 31st March 2009, and press reports suggest there will be a meeting soon after that, possibly in the UK. It is not clear whether this will be a meeting of finance ministers, or heads of state.

Under the following five headings, immediate actions and medium term actions are listed in the G20 statement, but most raise problems rather than proposing specific solutions. Finance ministers are tasked with coming up with additional actions in a number of areas, including: "reviewing and aligning global accounting standards" and "reviewing the mandates, governance, and resource requirements of the IFIs". A revival of the Doha 'development' trade round is also promised by the end of the year. Poverty reduction and climate change merit only a passing reference.

The rest of the summary and analysis and links to related documents and articles may be found here => and here =>

Concrete suggestions include:
  • regulating derivatives
  • stopping speculation on staple food commodities
  • applying stricter international capital reserve requirements
  • a speculation tax on international transactions
  • closing tax havens
  • stronger transparency rules
  • A renegotiation by governments of the dozens of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties that currently ban governments from placing controls on capital flows and applying other sensible conditions to foreign investment and other financial transactions.

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