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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

29.10.2013

Briefing of Press Attache of Russian Embassy: "Russia’s G20 Presidency: Outcomes"

Russia’s G20 Presidency, now drawing to a close, was a success. One of the factors that secured this success was that Russia has been able to develop a unifying summit agenda reflecting major aspirations of both developed states and emerging economies. The interests of the least developed countries have found a proper representation as well.

Russia has made a wide range of innovative suggestions, which have been fleshed out in action plans and commitments of the participants. The ideas applied to economic growth stimulation, fiscal consolidation, expansion of employment, countering the erosion of taxation base, investments in the real sector, promotion of international development and a number of other issues.

Another strength of Russia’s G20 Presidency has been the unprecedented openness and outreach programme through an intensive dialogue with international and regional organisations, businesses and civil society. The St Petersburg summit has also highlighted the growing influence of the BRICS within the G20.

Russia’s G20 Presidency priorities took into account that the world economy is in a better shape than five years ago, in the wake of the global financial crisis. Economic growth is increasingly apparent despite considerable downside risks. Among the remaining issues are low global GDP growth rates, exceptionally high unemployment, insufficient investment in the real sector, persistence of fiscal problems in the US, Japan and the eurozone. A new challenge is a slowdown in emerging economies.

That is why the main priority of our presidency was growth and employment stimulation, primarily through investment, effective regulation and market confidence-building. Important decisions, taken in this regard at the St Petersburg Summit, included the St Petersburg Action Plan which put forward for G20 nations specific strategies aimed at achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth. These take into account the need to combine policies to foster growth with medium-term fiscal consolidation goals and include steps to regulate labour markets and taxation, to develop human capital, upgrade infrastructure, etc. Such measures should increase confidence of financial markets to encourage them to invest more into the real sector, which is in itself an important step towards long-term stabilization of global and national economies.

Another important topic for the Russian Presidency was job creation. Russia has introduced a new integrated approach to policy in this area, taking into account macroeconomic, financial, fiscal, social and educational factors. For the first time in G20’s history, Russia hosted a joint finance and labour ministerial meeting with special attention paid to employment of vulnerable social groups.

Investment financing has become another innovation of the Russian Presidency. The goal is to find the most effective ways to improve investment climate and increase long-term investment flows. Important decisions have already been made in this regard by the leaders at the Summit, including development of high-level principles of long-term investment financing.

Once again, G20 has confirmed the importance of sound multilateral trade, including interaction within the WTO. Importantly, the leaders have agreed to extend their “standstill” commitments on protectionism until 2017, confirmed their willingness to increase transparency in international trade.

A new topic for G20, supported by the UK Presidency in G8, was the fight against tax base erosion and profit shifting, which we consider a deterrent to the attempts to erode soundness of national fiscal systems. The corresponding Action Plan and the agreement to jointly introduce a new tax information exchange standard were crucial in this regard.

Strengthening of global financial regulation continued to be one of the primary topics for the Russian Presidency. A comprehensive set of reforms is being implemented, including in such areas as the “too big to fail” problem and shadow banking regulation.

Other key topics discussed during the Summit and throughout our Presidency included fostering international development and assistance to HIPCs with a special progress report, fighting against corruption, encouraging energy cooperation, etc.

The Outreach Strategy was an important part of Russia’s G20 Presidency. It was aimed to win support from different outreach groups, such as Business 20, Think 20, Civil 20, Youth 20 and Labour 20, which all contributed to G20 policy-makers’ discussions and demonstrated great potential to deliver added value to the final G20 Summit documents.

Russia had a very constructive dialogue with UK Government, experts and outreach partners throughout the Presidency and we look forward to our continued co-operation with Australia as the next G20 Chair. Fruitful discussions with the Australians have already taken place in Moscow last week.

In Russia’s perspective, ongoing co-ordination of approaches in macro-economic policy issues is what makes the G20 so unique and relevant for all countries alike in current volatile global economic environment. We hope that Russia’s Presidency has contributed to the process of international co-operation, and we remain committed to our continued active participation in this important format.




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