Roundup: G20 Toronto summit holds plenary session

09:21, June 28, 2010      

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The Fourth Summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies held a plenary session at the Metro Toronto Convention Center (MTCC) on Sunday morning.

"Now as before we must work and act together," said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, chair of the summit, in his brief opening remarks.

Harper noted that with a global recovery that is still fragile, it is incumbent upon the G20 leaders to act with the "same unity," "same sense of urgency" and "same commitment" as they did in the depth of the crisis.

As the world's premier forum for international economic cooperation, the G20 needs to "begin to develop a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth that we promised the world in Pittsburgh," the United States at the previous summit, said Harper.

He also listed fiscal deficits, debt levels in advanced countries, the premature end to stimulus, regulatory reforms in the financial sector, and the silence on protectionism as some of the major issues for the leaders to discuss and address during the summit.

Leaders of the world's biggest economies, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, as well as heads of a number of international organizations and leaders of a few non-G20 countries, were present at the full session, which is expected to discuss and adopt a final document for the summit.

The Chinese president delivered a speech titled "Work in unity for the future" at the plenary session.

In his opening remarks, the Canadian prime minister also sent out some messages about what might be discussed in depth at the meeting and even get written into the final statement from the summit.

"It is imperative we follow through on existing stimulus plans, those to which we committed ourselves last year, but at the same time, advanced countries must send a clear message that as our stimulus plans expire, we will focus on getting our fiscal houses in order," he said.

"Specifically, we should agree the deficits will be halved by 2013. We should also agree that government debt to GDP ratios should be stabilized by 2016 at the least, or put on a downward path," he elaborated.

According to Harper's "rough estimate," global output could be boosted by a cumulative 6.5 percent over the next five years if the G20 members "act in a coordinated manner and avoid pitfalls."

"This could raise global output rates by 4 trillion dollars, ( with) the creation of 52 million new jobs and 90 million people lifted out of poverty," he added.

"Here is the tightrope that we must walk to sustain recovery," he stressed.

The current G20 summit, which is expected to build on the previous three held respectively in Washington, London and Pittsburgh since the outbreak of the global financial and economic crisis in 2008, is being hosted by Toronto, Canada's largest city and what Harper called the "home of the most solid financial sector in the world."

Source: Xinhua


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