Harper: real progress needed before G20 Toronto summit

08:35, March 19, 2010      

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The upcoming G20 summit will be another chapter in the historic role the group has played in dealing with the most severe financial and economic crisis facing the world since the Great Depression, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Ottawa
on Thursday.

In his opening remarks to the three-day Sherpas'meeting for the summit, which is to be held in June in Toronto, Harper said that the G20's efforts are helping to minimize the impact of the crisis and to favor a more rapid recovery, which is by no means fully assured.

He said that the G20, credible as a principal global forum for economic leadership, must honor its past commitments by taking policies of effective and sustainable monetary and fiscal measures, sound and well-regulated financial institutions, open and competitive trade flows.

However, Harper also pointed out that the G20's role will be judged by its ability, not just to respond to crisis, but also its capacity to help lead the world through recovery and beyond.

Talking about the national interest, Harper stressed that it must take into account the overall, long-term needs of the entire global economy if that global economy is to prosper.

"We discovered that, in the new world of the global economy, whether the skies herald rain or shine, we are all in the same boat," he added.

Elaborating this summit theme of "Recovery and New Beginnings, " the Canadian Prime Minister called on his colleagues in the G20 to continue to make real progress in delivering on the actions agreed to in their previous gatherings in Washington, London and Pittsburgh.

Harper outlined the key tasks for the summit:

"First, we must continue with our stimulus measures. At the same time, it also behooves us to put our minds to how these will be balanced with exit strategies.

"Second, we should aim to progress our discussions on the global framework launched in Pittsburgh for achieving long-term growth that is balanced and sustainable. This will enable us to identify specific actions at our next leaders' summit in Seoul in November.

"Third, we must strengthen regulatory systems for the financial sector. We must get this done within the agreed timeframe.

"Fourth, we must continue working to advance quota and other reforms at international financial institutions to increase their legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness.

"Fifth, securing recovery requires all of us to keep our markets open."

Harper encouraged his colleagues to follow the step of Canada, which made it a tariff-free zone for manufacturers by eliminating all remaining tariffs on manufacturing inputs and machinery and equipment in the 2010 federal budget.

"Open global markets have been responsible for the growing worldwide prosperity of the past generation," he concluded. "If we lose our commitment to open markets, no matter how understandable the short-term political reasons may be, then we will lose that prosperity."

The name of sherpa, derived from the Sherpa people who serve as guides and porters to clear the way in the Himalaya Mountains, is a metaphor indicating that the personal representative of a head of state or government.

Sherpas' meetings reduce the amount of time and resources required at the negotiations at the final summit.

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