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G-20 leaders meet in Pittsburgh to reform global economy

Summit delegates all vow to take tough measures to bring order back to the markets

G-20 leaders meet in Pittsburgh to reform global economy

The leaders of the world's biggest economies head to Pittsburgh yesterday promising tough action to police financial markets and prevent a repeat of last year's crash.
"In Pittsburgh, we will work with the world's largest economies to chart a course for growth that is balanced and sustained," U.S. President Barack Obama told the United Nations on the eve of the G-20 summit.
"And that means ... strengthening regulation for all financial centers, so that we put an end to the greed, excess and abuse that led us into disaster, and prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again."
The two-day meet - grouping the world's 19 biggest developed and emerging economies plus the European Union - comes just over a year after a U.S. credit market collapse unleashed global economic chaos.
It also comes six months after the same G-20 chiefs met in London to coordinate their response to the crisis, and their performance in Pittsburgh will be judged on whether they have lived up to their earlier promises.
Summit delegates all vow to take tough and lasting measures to bring order back to the markets, shore up failing institutions, save jobs and rekindle growth, but each arrives in Pittsburgh with their own priorities.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday he would push his partners to impose sanctions on uncooperative tax havens starting next year.
"Tax havens, banking secrecy, that's all over," he told French television from New York. "I will fight for sanctions tomorrow in Pittsburgh."
Last week, France and Germany pressed for caps on bankers' bonuses, amid opposition from Britain and the United States, but a watered-down compromise deal appears likely to be reached, officials said.
Obama, hosting his first global summit, also sought to convince developing and developed nations to agree on a plan to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industries that are blamed for global warming.
The proposal might be welcomed by the environmental protesters picketing Congress, a Greenpeace adviser said, but it won't replace the need for Obama to show leadership on the struggle to agree on a global climate deal.
Emerging economies, led by India, want billions of U.S. dollars in subsidies from the developed world to help them convert to greener technologies if they are to sign up to a deal at a key climate summit in Copenhagen in December.
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown was the first leader to put a figure on such aid - suggesting US$100 billion by 2020 - and he said in an editorial inTthe New York Times that he would push the G-20 for action.
Greenpeace climate finance adviser Steve Herz welcomed Brown's stance, but expressed concern that other countries had failed to follow up on promises to seek funds to pay for the environmental protection measures.
Aside from financial regulation and climate change, the summit is also expected to discuss when and how to begin scaling back the multi-trillion U.S. dollar stimulus packages countries established to fight the recession.
Japan and continental Europe have begun to edge out of the slump and are starting to look at cuts - cheered on by China, which fears U.S. deficits will destabilize the dollar - but others feel such a move would be premature.
The summit will be held against the backdrop of a city that once faced ruin with the collapse of the regional steel industry, but has reinvented itself as a hub of high-technology industries.
Obama and Pittsburgh's local leaders see the city's story as an inspiration for leaders at the crisis summit, but a diverse array of protest groups are also determined to have their voices heard.
Environmental and workers' groups, as well as anti-globalization protesters are expected to converge on the city, where thousands of police reinforcements have been deployed along with hundreds of meters of steel barricades.


Updated : 2021-10-22 05:32 GMT+08:00