World leaders vow to halve deficits by 2013 (2)

08:49, June 28, 2010      

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"G-20 still has a lot to do to fully entrench the global recovery but these are important steps forward. They are steps that Canada has been seeking," Harper said.

A White House statement said the G-20's Toronto agreement carries through with existing stimulus programs while recognizing that deficit-reduction "needs to be calibrated ... and tailored to national circumstances."

The G-20 document came at the end of three days of economic summitry.

World leaders also took note of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "We recognize the need to share best practices to protect the marine environment, prevent accidents related to offshore exploration and development, as well as transportation, and deal with their consequences," the statement said.

The April 20 explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig unleashed the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP is London-based and the disaster has contributed to strains between the U.S. and Britain.

The G-20 statement limits the deficit-reduction goal to the most industrialized nations. It offers governments flexibility on when to start balancing their books. It does not include country-by-country goals, and it urges those in the most precarious financial positions to accelerate their plans.

European countries, in particular, have been rattled by the near-default of Greece on its government debt.

The document doesn't endorse a bank tax advocated by Europe to set up a fund to pay for future bailouts. Canada, Australia and Japan, whose banks did not fail in the crisis, oppose the levy.

Instead, it says all countries should make sure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill when banks fail, and leaves it up to individual countries to decide how they want to do that. Examples include a bank tax, stiffer cash reserve requirements or other mechanisms.

The G-20 includes the world's major industrial countries — the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Italy and Russia — plus major developing nations such as China, India, Brazil and South Korea. That roster accounts for roughly 85 percent of the world's economic output.

The United States ran a record deficit of $1.42 trillion last year, or 10 percent of its GDP. Private economists expect the deficit will decline only slightly to $1.3 trillion this year, which would amount to 9 percent of GDP.

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(Editor:张心意)

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