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G20 ministers determined to curb impact of crisis

Video by Siobhán SILKE , Valérie GIEBEL

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-10

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 meeting in Sao Paolo have pledged to take "all necessary steps" to restore market confidence and stability in the current financial crisis.

Major wealthy and emerging nations pledged Sunday to take "all necessary steps" to boost sagging market confidence and to give a bigger voice to developing countries in global economic affairs.
The finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 meeting in Sao Paulo said there was consensus for major reforms of a global international financial system ravaged by a credit crisis.
Although no specific proposals emerged, the G20, which includes the seven leading economies and key developing ones, said in a statement: "We agreed that we must draw policy lessons from the current crisis and take all necessary steps to restore market confidence and stability and to minimise the risk of a future crisis."
The statement said officials at the meeting noted "that the global crisis requires global solutions and common set of principles," and added that "we stand ready to urgently take forward work and actions agreed by our leaders."
The G20 communique and statements from officials indicated a general agreement on broad principles among the ministers, noting that more detailed proposals would come from the November 15 summit of G20 heads of state and government hosted by US President George W. Bush.
Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said that at next week's Washington summit "we'll have the political power" of the heads of state and government "to proceed with proposals."
The Brazilian minister, who has led a call for emerging nations to play a bigger role in financial affairs, said that officials saw a need for quick actions to steady a troubled global economy.
"The solutions have to come fast. We have to change the tires with the car in motion," he said.
"In one or two or three months we will see the answers to these questions."
But asked whether the G20 would replace the G7 as a steering committee for economic affairs, he said, "This is an issue that has not yet been resolved, but the G20 is a strong candidate to coordinate actions."
David McCormick, US Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, said the meeting forged an agreement on the need to broaden the efforts to combat the global economic troubles.
"I think we found widespread agreement and a common set of views on the challenges that are facing many of our countries," McCormick told journalists.
He said next week's summit "will be an opportunity for a very focused discussion among the world leaders on the global financial market crisis, and it will lay the groundwork toward making important regulatory changes."
The Sao Paulo meeting concluded that the Bretton Woods system set up to govern international finance in 1944 should be revamped. This would mean overhauls of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, created at Bretton Woods.
"We underscored that the Bretton Woods Institutions must be comprehensively reformed so that they can more adequately reflect changing economic weights in the world economy and be more responsive to future challenges," the statement said.
"Emerging and developing economies should have greater voice and representation in these institutions."
The statement said the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions "have an important role to play, consistent with their mandates, in helping to stabilise and strengthen the international financial system, advancing international cooperation for development and assisting countries affected by the crisis."
Stephen Timms, Britain's junior finance minister, noted that the G20 "has never been more relevant than it is today" and added that there was "broad agreement across the G20 on the need for change.
"We want urgent coordinated action to stabilise the situation," he said.
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said "there was a convergence of views on the response" to the crisis.
The ministers spoke after a meeting of the officials from the G20 group of nations, which includes the G7 (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States) plus many important emerging economies, including Brazil, India, China, Russia and Indonesia.

Date created : 2008-11-10