G20 targets jobs and investment push over 5 years
Leaders plan to increase economic output by over US$2 trillion in drive for growth
The world's top economies have embraced a goal of generating more than US$2 trillion in additional output over five years while creating tens of million of jobs, signalling optimism that the worst of crisis-era austerity is behind them.
The final communiqué from the two-day meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney said yesterday they would take action to increase investment and employment. An agreement targeting tax evasion was also hailed as a key achievement.
"We will develop ambitious but realistic policies with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than 2 per cent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming 5 years," the G20 statement said.
On taxes, the G20 members agreed to develop stricter rules on cross-border taxation to close loopholes that have allowed some multinationals to minimise tax payments. They endorsed common standards for sharing bank account information across borders with automatic exchange of information among members by the end of next year.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has targeted fiscal consolidation as a key part of its growth strategy for the G20.
Referring to offshore tax havens, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD's Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, said: "There will be a neutralisation of these types of schemes."
A note of caution was heard on the investment and jobs push. "The results of this process cannot be guaranteed by politicians," Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.
To aid the growth push, the group acknowledged that monetary policy would need to "remain accommodative in many advanced economies and should normalise in due course".
The growth plan borrows wholesale from an International Monetary Fund paper prepared for the Sydney meeting, which estimated that structural reforms would raise world economic output by 0.5 per cent a year over the next five years, boosting global output by US$2.25 trillion.
There was a nod to concerns by emerging nations that the US Federal Reserve consider the impact of its tapering of quantitative easing.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said there were honest discussions among members on the impact of tapering and that newly installed Fed chairman Janet Yellen was "hugely impressive" when dealing with them.