Economic growth G20 leaders' priority: Canadian PM

08:20, June 21, 2010      

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Firday that the primary objective of G20 leaders must be encouraging economic growth and promoting job creation.

In a letter to G20 leaders, Harper said fiscal stimulus is still needed as "we are not out of the woods yet," while "recovery in private demand is not yet assured in all G20 countries and new risks have emerged." Canada will host the G20 summit June 26-27 in Toronto.

He added that developed countries should "follow through on delivering existing stimulus plans" and send out a clear message that "as their stimulus plans expire, they will focus on getting their fiscal houses in order", which requires credible plans for fiscal consolidation.

In order to dispel the uncertainty and financial volatility that can impair future growth prospects, Harper called on the leaders to agree to halve deficits by 2013, stabilize government debt-to-GDP ratios or put them on a downward path by 2016, and take concerted actions across G20 countries to support global demand, reduce the unacceptably high rates of unemployment and global poverty.

He also noted the importance of G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth in addressing all the challenges and said that a set of policies should be agreed.

The policies, Harper said, should include development and implementation of clear, credible and growth friendly fiscal consolidation plans in advanced economies.

He said the policies should encourage actions to accelerate financial sector repair and reform.

The prime minister called for policy support for stronger internal sources of growth in emerging markets by improving social safety nets, increasing investments in infrastructure and adopting more flexible exchange rates.

He underscored the reform of product and labor markets in all G20 countries to boost the growth potential, saying the "standstill" pledge against protectionism made at the 2008 Washington G20 summit must be extended to resist new protectionist measures.



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