Way through on global recovery

An advertisement for the G20 Seoul Summit 2010 in downtown Seoul on October 30th, 2010. (Photo: Flickr user 'A23H')

Authors: Shiro Armstrong and Peter Drysdale, ANU

The elevation of the G20 to a leaders’ summit represents a change to the international system of an order that can be compared with the establishment of the great postwar international institutions. The G20 is now the premier forum for global economic governance following its elevation to leaders’ level meetings after the global financial crisis. The United States has led a smooth transition in the locus of power from the G7/8 to the G20.

The membership of the G20 is recognition of the importance of Asia in the global system. Now Asia has this global platform can it deliver on its global responsibilities? Read more…

G20: Leadership need not only come from the G7

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the 2009L’Aquila G8 Summit: After the smaller group, will the G20 prove too unwieldy?  (Photo: Michael Gottschalk/AP/AAP)

Author: Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard

Korea has an opportunity to exercise historic leadership when it chairs the G20 meeting in Seoul. This will be the first time that a non-G7 country has hosted the G20 since the larger, more inclusive, group supplanted the smaller rich-country group in April 2009 as the premier steering committee for the world economy. With large emerging market and developing countries playing such expanded roles in the world economy, the G7 had lost legitimacy. It was high time to make the membership more representative. But there is also a danger that the G20 will now prove too unwieldy, in which case effective decision-making might then revert to the smaller group.

When countries like China and India used to demand a larger voice in world governance based on their large populations, they did not get very far. Read more…

Providing a voice to ‘excluded’ nations in the G20

Legitimacy, governance structure, voice and accountability remain questions for nations, like Pakistan, which do not have a seat at the G20 table. (Photo: Saood Rehman/EPA)

Author: Ishrat Husain, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

The formation of the G20 grouping of finance ministers and central bank governors and their heads of state is indeed a significant improvement compared to the previous G8 arrangements. The dynamic changes in global economic output and international trade are adequately reflected in this expanded group. The inclusion of 10 emerging economies such as South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia, South Arabia and Turkey in the consultative process has broadened the scope of the dialogue. but it still excludes 170 nations from direct participation in this forum.  Norway, one of the major donors to development programs, has protested that it has no voice within the group.

The questions of the legitimacy, representative character, governance structure, voice and accountability of the G20 remain and pose certain dilemmas for countries such as Pakistan which do not have a seat on the table. Read more…

Using the G20 to avoid currency war

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (R) speaks next to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting at the Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC on October 1, 2010. (Photo: AFP/Yuri Gripas)

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

It is now less than a month until the G20 Summit in Seoul. The agenda is firming up but unlike in the Toronto Summit, which was less ambitious and the coverage of which focused on protests in Toronto, Seoul is set to be a real test of what the G20 can deliver.

US Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, has delayed publishing a US Treasury report on Chinese currency manipulation until after the Summit. This intensifies the focus on the exchange rate issue at the G20. Read more…

Opportunity for Asia and the G20

Volunteers on bicycle carry banners of G20 Summit in Korea in Seoul, South Korea, on May 10, 2010. (Photo: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Authors: Peter Drysdale and Soogil Young, Asia G20 Roundtable

The most important outcome of the G20 will be the reassurance of strong commitment from G20 leaders to macro-economic recovery strategies and to the structural changes needed for balanced growth and sustained development in the long term. As the most dynamic in the global economy, Asian economies have an especially important role in setting out the course ahead for re-balanced and sustainable growth.

The recovery of some industrial economies is still fragile and will require continuing expansionary measures, within the bounds of debt sustainability (which are a greater constraint for Europe). Read more…

The G20 after Toronto: Now for the hard part

President Barack Obama talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao following their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada, on June 26, 2010. (Photo: White House/Pete Souza)

Author: Wendy Dobson, University of Toronto

The Toronto meeting of G20 leaders on June 26-27 was a stop on the road to Seoul. Leaders took a few significant steps forward but not enough has yet been accomplished to avoid another crisis and there is danger of renewed complacency. Much, therefore, is riding on the work that leads to decisions in Seoul.

Among its accomplishments, the Toronto meeting was a deadline that elicited progress on the key objective of restoring strong, sustainable, and balanced world growth. Read more…

How can Asia strengthen its voice at the G20?

(L-R) Chinese President Hu Jintao, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama join other world leaders for the G20 Summit 'family photograph' on June 27, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Author: Pradumna B. Rana, RSIS, Singapore

The G20 summit is a process that is evolving and no one can predict exactly where it will end up. The group was self appointed the ‘premier forum for international economic cooperation’ and there remain important questions related to membership and agenda that need to be addressed. In Pittsburgh, US President Barack Obama announced that the G20 would replace the G8. Two G20 summits are planned for this year — in Toronto and Seoul in November. While the Toronto summit will take stock of the implementation of exit strategies from the expansionary macroeconomic policies, the Seoul summit has selected two additional longer term issues for discussion — financial safety nets to better insulate emerging markets from systemic instability, and actions to close the development gap, especially for the poorest. Issues related to climate change could also be addressed at the G20 summit.

So how should Asia respond? Read more…