Crucial talks at Brisbane G20 Finance Ministers Meeting

Wednesday, 5 November 2014  Features
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​"The G20 meetings have been a response to two of the greatest economic crises since the great depression of the 1930s," said the UNSW Business School's Tim Harcourt. "However the world has an economic growth problem and that is sure to weigh heavily on the minds of ministers meeting at the G20."

He said the G20 Finance Ministers meeting on the 13 to the 15 November in Brisbane will consider the implications for world growth and trade. "The G20 is not meant to be a substitute for the multilateral trade talks but as the WTO is as dead as a Doha expect some movement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Australia is certainly hoping to finalise its FTA with China in Brisbane but Australia's failure to support the China infrastructure development bank may have changed the atmospherics," he said.

Tim Harcourt, the J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics at UNSW's Business School said the idea for the meeting was in response to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-99 and the Leaders mee​​ting in the following few days is a response to the global financial crisis.

"The G20 have found a role for the emerging nations of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa so the world economic financial architecture is no longer a transatlantic club dominated by the Bretton Woods institutions. This is good news for Australia given our geography and economic interests."

The G20 is the world's most important economic forum. The countries of the G20 generate 75 per cent of all world trade and 85 per cent of the world's Gross Domestic Product.

"Expect a big role from Russia with Putin flexing his muscles. Joe Hockey's growth target - to quote AFL legendary commentator Dennis Cometti - is 'ambitious' and depends on sovereign governments making budget commitments away from home. Can they tell their voters they signed up to commitments in Brisbane but not Barcelona or Buenos Aires?" he questioned.

When the leaders of the G20 will assemble in Brisbane, it will be the largest ever gathering of world leaders in Australia history, and it is the culmination of Australia's presidency of the G20.

"One thing is for certain, Brisbane will aim to put on a bigger and grander G20 than Russia did last year. And it's likely to cost more. It's like the 'suit Olympics' with each host city trying to outdo the previous host."

Tim Harcourt from the UNSW Business School can provide a full assessment of the G20, the Australian economy, and analysis of various sectors, such as manufacturing, mining and the impact on trade.

For further comment contact: 

Tim Harcourt: 02 9385 3816 | 0408 485 479 | tim.harcourt@unsw.edu.au 

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