Brisbane G20 summit opens, growth on agenda

Brisbane: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott at the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday. PTI Phloto by Kamal Singh(PTI11_15_2014_000063B)

Brisbane: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott at the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday. PTI Phloto by Kamal Singh(PTI11_15_2014_000063B)   | Photo Credit: PTI

* Tony Abbott vowed that world leaders would deliver on an initiative to add $2 trillion to global GDP, promising freer trade and more investment in infrastructure.

* At the BRICS Leaders’ meet here on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Narendra Modi lauds Brazilian Dilma Rousseff’s leadership ( >Read full story)

* Putin may skip G20 event ( >Read full story)

* Obama, European leaders pressure Russia over Ukraine.

* Merkel warns of additional sanctions against Russian individuals.

* Russia denies involvement in Ukraine, says has BRICS support.

* Obama urges action on climate change.

* Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott stressed the importance of global economic issues at a summit that has been dominated by the crisis in Ukraine, climate change and the United States's Asia-Pacific pivot.

* The G20 issued a joint statement on the crisis, saying all members are "committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs".

* The Group of 20 world leaders committed to mobilising resources to combat the Ebola epidemic, but stopped short of agreeing to a global pandemic fund. ( >Read full story)

* Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President President Jacob Zuma attended the informal meeting of leaders of the five-nation BRICS bloc along with Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

* Modi makes strong pitch for operationalisation of BRICS bank, says, “The historic 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza delivered— the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. These signal our collective capacities to create and manage global institutions.”

* Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives for G20 Summit ( >Read full story)

Heads of the 20 largest economies began cementing plans to drag sagging growth out of the doldrums.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has repeatedly promised this year’s Group of 20 gathering in the Australian city of Brisbane would be more than a talkfest, said the growth plans would add millions of jobs and boost global GDP by “more than 2 per cent” above expected levels over the next five years.

“That is millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in extra production,” Mr. Abbott said as he officially opened the two-day G20 conference. “Yes, we want freer trade and we will deliver it. Yes, we need more infrastructure and we will build it,” he said.

“This is our message to the world — that governments can deliver, that governments can agree that the world can be better, that there can be higher jobs, higher growth and more jobs.”

G20 nations, which represent 85 per cent of the global economy, are under pressure to take definitive action at this year’s summit, rather than simply producing a set of vague, unmeasurable goals. The International Monetary Fund has warned about a “new mediocre” for the world economy, putting renewed focus on the G20’s growth initiative.

Each country is expected to present a comprehensive plan at the summit on how they will achieve their contribution toward the $2 trillion goal, but whether the communiqué will reveal any of those details is unclear. World GDP this year is about $77 trillion.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said the group’s growth strategies include 1,000 measures that will lift infrastructure investment, increase trade and competition, cut red tape and increase employment.

“While we still face economic challenges in many parts of the world, I’m optimistic our 2 per cent commitment will deliver the growth the world needs,” Mr. Hockey said.

But rights groups such as The Civil Society 20 group, or C20, want assurances that the poor will benefit the most from the plans, estimating that the additional growth could lift 1 billion people out of poverty if it was poured into the poorest 20 per cent of G20 households.

Before intensive talks could begin, however, leaders took time out to enjoy a traditional Aussie barbecue at the State Parliament House, feasting on king prawns, oysters, lamb and pavlova, a popular meringue dessert generally served with fruit and whipped cream.

Several of the leaders’ spouses visited a local wildlife sanctuary where they cuddled up with koalas and fed kangaroos.

Dignitaries were then greeted by a traditional Aboriginal welcome ceremony, featuring singing, dancing and the solemn hum of a didgeridoo, before entering their first official closed-door meeting.

Outside the convention centre where the summit is taking place, hundreds of protesters braved a scorching heat wave and labyrinth of roadblocks to stage rallies demanding everything from action on climate change to banning Russian President Vladimir Putin from the gathering.

Despite fears of mass arrests and violence, the protests have been largely peaceful. Two activists were detained for questioning; an Associated Press photojournalist saw police take two gas masks and a pocket knife out of their bags before escorting them away. Knives and gas masks are on a lengthy list of banned items in the city this weekend; prohibited items also include eggs, guns, kites and reptiles.

Six thousand police officers were on duty to maintain order, many dumping bottles of water on themselves to cope with temperatures that are expected to reach 40°C on Sunday.

The summit will conclude on Sunday with the release of an official communiqué, a rundown of what the countries have achieved and want to achieve in the future.

Tax avoidance by big, multinational companies was expected to be high on the agenda, particularly in light of the recent leak of documents suggesting that hundreds of big companies such as Pepsi and IKEA had organised tax-lowering deals with Luxembourg.

The tiny European nation’s neighbours reacted angrily to the news, noting that they have had to impose harsh austerity measures on their own citizens to keep government budgets afloat following the global recession.

On Saturday, Jean-Claude Juncker, two weeks into his new job as European Commission president, faced tough questioning about his tax record as Prime Minister of Luxembourg for 18 years.

During a press conference on the sidelines of the G20, he was grilled about whether Luxembourg was guilty of “picking people’s pockets” while he was the nation’s leader, and asked whether he could be considered a credible representative of the European Union on the issue of tax avoidance, given his ties to Luxembourg.

Mr. Juncker largely deflected the questions.


>Let's use first names, Abbott tells G20 leaders

This is to show "personal warmth" and to "speak from the heart, not from notes" to make the summit the best it can be.

>

>Modi much sought after at G20

The Indian Prime Minister "is one of the most popular figures at this G20. A leader others want to see, and be seen with," the Guardian wrote in an article.

>

>Repatriation of black money ‘a key priority’, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that repatriation of black money kept abroad is a “priority” for his government, as he sought close global coordination to achieve this objective.

>

>Reform has to be people-driven: Modi tells G20

G20 business leaders said vigorous efforts should be made to go beyond fiscal and monetary policy to kickstart world economy and create jobs.

>

>Modi wows students at Queensland varsity

Several students could not hide their enthusiasm and turned into shutterbugs as they relentlessly took photos.

>

>G20 biz leaders demand bold reform agenda for global growth

G20 business leaders said vigorous efforts should be made to go beyond fiscal and monetary policy to kickstart world economy and create jobs.

>

>Ties with India top priority: Cameron

Yours is a very inspiring vision, U.K. wants to partner in any way we can, Cameron told Modi.

>

>Move over MSG, Modi to address three gatherings in Australia

After Madison Square Garden in New York, it will be the historic Melbourne Cricket Grounds

>

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 12:56:06 PM |

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