Australia Finance Meeting Seeks Global Growth Boost

The world’s most powerful central bankers and finance ministers – including U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde – are meeting in northern Australia.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 group of nations meeting in the Queensland city of Cairns have agreed on measures to raise global economic growth by nearly 2 percent over five years.

But there are differences on the need for short-term stimulus measures to support faltering economies.

In their closing statement, the delegates announced a ‘Global Infrastructure Initiative’ to increase private investment in such projects.

Cracking down on tax evasion by multinational companies was also discussed.

Australia – the host of the finance summit – says a global approach is needed to ensure that companies pay tax where they earn money.

Aid and development group Oxfam has welcomed the G20 plan to stop profit-shifting by multinational organizations – transferring money between jurisdictions in order to cut tax liability.

“Oxfam’s concerned that $100 billion of tax revenue is lost by the world’s poorest countries each year, so what we’re looking for this weekend is a system that stops profit shifting by big multinational companies, that delivers appropriate tax to wealthy countries like Australia and to some of the world’s poorest countries that desperately need those funds to build schools and to build hospitals,” said Oxfam Australia policy manager Jo Pride.

Following the two-day summit, Australian treasurer Joe Hockey said while the world economy has been recovering, growth has been uneven.

His U.S. counterpart, Jack Lew, said the strength of the U.S. economy was having a positive effect globally, but he noted with disappointment the sluggish growth in Japan and in the eurozone, where unemployment was near record highs and inflation at “dangerously low levels.”

Other delegates noted how China was struggling to “shore up” weakening growth in certain areas.

The Queensland city of Brisbane will host a full meeting of the G20 in November.

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