Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–September 5, 2016. President Obama participated in his 10th and final G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou, China on September 4-5. In 2009, President Obama proposed elevating the G-20 to be the world’s premier forum for international economic cooperation, allowing leaders representing approximately 85 percent of global economic output to advance the shared objective of strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive global growth.
The G-20 from 2009 to 2016
When President Obama traveled to his first G-20 Summit in London in April 2009, the global economy was, by several key measures, on a worse trajectory than was seen in 1929 at the outset of the Great Depression.
The G-20 played a vital role in responding to the global financial crisis and strengthening the global financial architecture. Starting in 2009, the G-20 mobilized trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus, rebuilt confidence in the international financial system, and committed to prevent a retreat into protectionism and beggar-thy-neighbor policies. G-20 leaders also launched reforms that have made international financial institutions more reflective of a changing world, including the historic 2010 International Monetary Fund quota and governance reform package. The G-20 has taken steps to put in place financial regulations to prevent another financial crisis, enhance cooperation on tax issues and financial transparency, and tackle critical challenges like climate change and global health security.
In Hangzhou, G-20 leaders recognized that more work remains to strengthen growth, expand opportunity, and ensure the benefits of trade and open markets are widely felt. The G-20’s track record over the past 8 years has laid a strong foundation for further progress.
Ensuring a Level Playing Field in an Open, Integrated Global Economy
In Hangzhou, President Obama reiterated the United States’ support for an open, integrated global economy, underpinned by a level playing field that gives workers and businesses a fair opportunity to compete. G-20 leaders built on the significant steps they have already taken to address corruption, tax evasion and avoidance, and other challenges that undermine the integrity of the global financial system.
- Resolving Global Excess Capacity in Industrial Sectors: G-20 leaders recognized that excess capacity in steel and other industries is a global issue that requires a collective response. The G-20 called for the formation of a Global Forum to take steps to address steel excess capacity and encourage adjustments, and to report back to the G-20 in 2017. Excess capacity is a global problem, and the Global Forum will provide an opportunity to help find a global solution. As the Forum prepares to launch, the United States will continue its efforts to address many of the trade-related challenges in the global steel industry. This includes enforcing 160 anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on steel and steel-related products, tracking U.S. and global steel trade flows, working to address evasion of anti-dumping and countervailing duties and upholding U.S. rights under trade agreements.
- Refraining from Unfair Currency Practices: G-20 leaders reaffirmed their commitments to refrain from competitive devaluations and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes. These G-20 commitments complement a broader set of tools the Obama Administration has developed to address unfair currency practices.
- Environmental Goods Agreement: G-20 leaders welcomed the landing zone achieved in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations and reaffirmed their aim to conclude an ambitious, future-oriented EGA that seeks to eliminate tariffs on a broad range of environmental goods by the end of 2016.
- Supporting a Modern, Fair International Tax System: G-20 leaders reiterated their support for international tax cooperation and called for timely, consistent and widespread implementation of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package which will help ensure a fair and efficient global business taxation system. They also called for all relevant and interested countries and jurisdictions that have not yet committed to the BEPS package to do so and join the G-20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS.
- Strengthening Global Cooperation on Anticorruption: Recognizing the detrimental effects of corruption and illicit finance, G-20 leaders reinforced a wide range of ongoing efforts through the adoption of a new two-year G-20 Action Plan. The G-20 called on relevant international organization to make recommendations to improve implementation of international transparency standards for the purposes of tackling corruption, tax evasion, terrorist financing, and money laundering. Consistent with these efforts, in May 2016, President Obama put forward a significant new package of proposals to bolster the transparency of beneficial ownership information in the United States.
- Moving Forward at the WTO: G-20 leaders called for all members to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement by the end of 2016. The agreement aims to eliminate bureaucratic delay for merchandise shipped around the world, stimulate trade growth, and contribute positively to other efforts, including on food security.
Strengthening the Global Economy and Ensuring Inclusive Growth
In Hangzhou, G-20 leaders committed to use all policy tools – including fiscal policy – to achieve the common G-20 goal of strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth. G-20 leaders took stock of progress toward their 2014 commitment to lift G-20 output by an additional 2 percent by 2018. Recognizing that in the current environment much more needs to be done to boost growth and create broad-based opportunity, G-20 leaders also endorsed the following:
- Ensuring Sustained Wage Growth: G-20 leaders endorsed Sustainable Wage Policy Principles, which provide a new G-20 policy framework for improving the wages of low- and middle-income earners, setting appropriate minimum wages, promoting collective bargaining, supporting key labor market institutions, addressing the gender wage gap, and encouraging regular monitoring and reporting.
- Bolstering Labor Market Opportunities for Women and Youth: In 2014 and 2015, G-20 leaders adopted new targets for expanding labor market opportunities for women and youth. In Hangzhou, G-20 leaders committed to further develop employment plans to meet these commitments and monitor progress in a systemic and transparent manner. The G-20 also acknowledged the importance of supporting the entry of more women into science and technology fields and encouraging women and youth entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities in global value chains.
- Creating Opportunity through Apprenticeships: G-20 leaders recognized the need to address changing skills needs, including by endorsing the G-20 Initiative to Promote Quality Apprenticeship, which sets policy priorities to increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of apprenticeships. Since the President’s 2014 State of the Union call to action, the United States has added almost 115,000 active apprenticeships, the largest increase in nearly a decade.
Promoting Innovation and the Digital Economy
Building on the G-20’s major breakthrough in Antalya in 2015 to affirm important voluntary, peacetime norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, G-20 leaders this year made additional groundbreaking policy commitments aimed at promoting innovation and the digital economy as one of the most important drivers of global economic growth and development, including in the areas of:
- Free Flow of Data and Internet Governance: The G-20 endorsed a blueprint on innovative growth that affirms the importance of preserving the global nature of the internet as an engine for growth, and expressed the G-20’s commitment to the free flow of information, ideas, and knowledge across borders, freedom of expression, and the multistakeholder approach to internet governance. The United States continues to promote policies around the world that support digital trade, stoke innovation, and empower and protect consumers and rejects approaches that would unduly limit growth, fragment global networks, or unfairly tilt the playing field. The United States also is working to fulfill its commitment to privatize the Internet domain name system, in cooperation with the global multistakeholder community.
- Broadband Opportunity and Net Neutrality: The G-20 called for policies to promote expanded broadband access for all citizens, in particular for education. The G-20 reaffirmed the goal of ensuring the next 1.5 billion people are connected to the Internet by 2020, a goal shared by the Global Connect Initiative led by the United States. Domestically, the United States is pursuing such policies under the Administration’s ConnectED and ConnectAll initiatives. ConnectEd is on track to bring high-speed Internet access to 99 percent of America’s schools by 2018, and has in just three years closed the connectivity divide in U.S. schools by half, while ConnectAll will ensure that 20 million more Americans have access to broadband by 2020 through modernizations to low-income support programs, digital literacy education, and other steps. The G-20 also endorsed a digital economy cooperation initiative which affirms the importance of creating the right conditions for expanded broadband access, including net neutrality policies to prevent anti-competitive blocking, throttling, or prioritization of data. The United States is at the forefront of a global consensus on the importance of such protections, as demonstrated by the Federal Communications Commission putting into place strong net neutrality rules.
- Protecting Intellectual Property and Cybersecurity: The G-20 recognized the key role of effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights to development of the digital economy and affirmed their 2015 commitment that G-20 members should not conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property. Building on these cyberspace commitments in Antalya, this year the G-20 committed to address security risks, threats, and vulnerabilities in the digital economy, including through application of risk-based cybersecurity approaches. The G-20’s commitment echoes U.S. efforts to promote risk-based cybersecurity approaches through the President’s Executive Order on Promoting Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.
Addressing Climate Change
With the official deposit on September 3 of the U.S. and Chinese instruments to join the Paris Agreement, countries representing around 40 percent of global emissions have now joined the Paris Agreement, and more than 55 countries have already joined or have committed to work to join this year, putting the Agreement’s entry into force well within reach. In addition to working together to bring the Paris Agreement into force in 2016, G-20 leaders maintained strong momentum on climate action at the Hangzhou Summit:
- Promoting Energy Efficiency: The G-20 welcomed progress on international collaboration on energy efficiency, and highlighted efforts being taken to improve the efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles (HDV). The United States has chaired the G-20 Transport Task Group since its inception in 2014 and continues lead in this area, including by recently finalizing Phase 2 HDV efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, which are expected to avoid 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon pollution while saving vehicle owners $170 billion dollars.
- Supporting Successful Multilateral Outcomes: The G-20 looked forward to successful outcomes in key negotiations at the Montreal Protocol and International Aviation Council Organization (ICAO). The United States intends to continue working with G-20 and global partners to adopt an HFC phasedown amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which could avoid a half-degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century, and to adopt a market-based measure to address international aviation emissions under ICAO.
- Working with the Private Sector to Address Climate Change: The G-20 also recognized the importance of collaborating with the private sector to scale up green finance. This complements ongoing work to improve climate financial disclosure.
Addressing the Global Refugee and Migration Crisis
In Hangzhou, leaders acknowledged the historic numbers of people displaced around the world, and reaffirmed their call for global efforts in addressing the root causes and effects. In particular, leaders noted the World Bank’s efforts to work with other international organizations and its shareholders to complete a global crisis response platform to provide support to refugees and host communities in both low and middle income countries. The platform will help to advance the aims of the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees that President Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the leaders of Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico, and Sweden will co-host later this month at the UN General Assembly.
Promoting Sustainable Development
Recognizing the historic global consensus reached with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda one year ago, G-20 leaders affirmed their strong commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda. Leaders also endorsed the G-20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda, including the High Level Principles, which outline concrete collective actions that will advance global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and build an inclusive and sustainable future. This work will complement actions the United States has committed to take to implement this Agenda at home and internationally.
- Advancing Global Health and the Global Health Security Agenda: Building on commitments made at the 2014 G-20 Summit in Brisbane to combat Ebola and enhance global health security, leaders recognized the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance and committed to take action to encourage antimicrobial stewardship and explore ways to promote research and development for new antimicrobials.
- Increasing Mobilization of Domestic Resources for Development: Leaders affirmed their support for the principles of the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI), a partnership launched in 2015 to help developing countries better mobilize and effectively use domestic resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by strengthening their capacity to finance their own development.
- Promoting Financial Inclusion: G-20 leaders endorsed a set of high-level principles and additional indicators for digital financial inclusion. Recognizing the potential impact on financial inclusion resulting from a decline in correspondent banking relationships which can limit the availability of banking services to businesses and communities, leaders also called on G-20 members, the IMF, and the World Bank to intensify their support for domestic capacity building to help countries improve their compliance with global anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism and prudential standards.
- Advancing Food Security and Nutrition: Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to continue to prioritize the G-20’s work on food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture and rural development. Leaders also welcomed the work of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which promotes sustainable agriculture to reduce hunger and malnutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.