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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » August 26, 2010
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G20 Summit in Seoul
August 26, 2010   
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Leaders from the world’s 20 most developed countries—the so-called Group of 20—will meet at a summit in Seoul, Korea, in the fall aiming to find speedy ways of recovering from the global economic and financial crisis.

The two-day summit in Seoul will begin Nov. 11. It will be attended by the leaders of the world’s 20 most developed countries, members of the Group of 20, and by 100 CEOs from the world’s largest corporations who have also marked their calendars to come to Seoul.

The business community has always taken part in G20 meetings, the summit organizers say, but this is the first time so many businesspeople will be in attendance. Executives from giants such as HSBC, Takeda Pharmaceutical, Deutsche Bank, Total, Eni, Repsol and Nomura Holdings have said they would attend, according to the organizers.

According to Kwon Hae-Ryong, the head of the summit’s organizing committee, the primary goal of the summit is for the world’s wealthiest countries to work out a transition “from a crisis response mode to a post-crisis mode.” This expectation may sound optimistic, but most economists around the world agree with it. While they believe another crisis might still happen at some point in the future, they are anticipating an economic revival in the coming months and years. That way, the current struggle against the negative implications of the economic downturn will give way to a shift in the global economy to help it switch to a revival mode faster and remain in such a state for a longer period of time, so as to nip a potential recession in the bud.

“We need to make the recovery more robust,” said Sakong Il of the G20 organizing committee. “To do that, we need to ensure there is the right investment and the right environment for the private sector.” The banking sectors in different countries are in different situations and there can be no single policy to satisfy all, he added.

According to Sakong Il, working out flexible rules to ensure a return to global economic growth—rules that could satisfy all countries regardless of their current economic development—will be the hardest task facing the summit participants.

Another major topic to be tackled at the meeting is the G20’s support for world trade without protectionism. The problem, which emerged after the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which then evolved into the World Trade Organization (WTO), is an extremely delicate issue now that the interests of the wealthiest countries and corporations clash with those of less wealthy countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia, which aspire to become global development leaders.

The G20 has already talked about the future of the world economy once this year when G20 leaders, finance ministers and central bank governors met in Toronto June 26-27 to debate strategies to recover from the financial crisis. The EU was represented by José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council. The two EU leaders focused on the priorities of the EU economic and social policies in the coming years. According to Barroso and Van Rompuy, the most important thing at the moment is to find ways to ensure strong and sustainable economic growth. The EU and the other G20 members agreed they needed to develop a well-coordinated recovery strategy to keep politics and public finances stable in the mid and long term. Pursuing this goal, the EU plans to continue reforming its financial markets. EU priorities include a tax on financial institutions. The EU encourages its member states to introduce such a tax as this could discourage financial players from making decisions burdened with excessive risk. The EU says, however, that discussions on this tax, much as discussions on a global tax on financial institutions, should be conducted globally in order to ensure identical rules of the game for all international market players.

The Group of 20 was formed in 1999. Its summits bring together political and financial leaders from 19 countries and the EU. Taken together, G20 members account for around 90 percent of the global GDP and 80 percent of world trade.
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