G20 Australia 2014


In the run up to the G20 I was asked to provide commentary to Share Radio's Morning Money programme which you can play below:

I predicted a focus on growth and the new 2% target which has been adopted, and that the global economy would feature strongly and that tax transparency whilst extremely important would be set in the context of bigger goals aimed at getting jobs and growth moving.

The communiqué detailed the following actions:

1) Economic Growth: The leader's agreed a new growth target of an additional 2.1% worth 2 trillion dollars by 2018 supported by a package of measures known at the "Brisbane Action Plan"

2) Infrastructure: A new Global infrastruture Hub will be created in Australia driving harmonisation of global projects and best practice

3) Freeing up trade: The G20 committed to increased Global trade and the dismantling of barriers and further progress on the WTO 

4) Tax and transparency: The G20 leaders agreed to complete measures to address tax avoidance by multinational companies. They also committed to strengthen financial institutions, protect taxpayers from having to fund bailouts of "too big to fail" banks and to make derivative markets safer.

5) Equality: Goals were set to close the gap between gender labour-force participation rates by 25% by 2025. This will bring an estimated 100 million extra women into the labour force.

6) Energy: Participants agreed that energy will now be central to the G20 agenda, with strong and sustainable energy markets critical to growth. Reports were called for with a review at the next G20.

7) Ebola: Leaders expressed support for an urgent and collaborative international approach to solving the crisis and providing the necessary resources to enable the affected countries to tackle the threat.

8) Climate: The G20 leaders committed to strong and effective action to tackle climate change. They also stressed the importance of climate finance for adaptation and mitigation such as the Green Climate Fund.

A number of supporting papers were issued and one in particular clarifies the G20 approach to information exchange and beneficial ownership, a technical term for who really owns the money.

The key findings are an endorsement of the current FATF aproach which is to ensure that the true owners of value are known, that this information is readily accessible, and that it can be exchanged between governments rapidly and without undue difficulty.

The NGO lobby will be disappointed their campaigning failed to deliver public disclosure of private assets with rights to compliant confidentiality being maintained. They will now switch their lobbying to the EU as the next two G20 Chairs, Turkey and China, are unlikely to be in sympathy with their agenda.

Meantime Jersey is in a good position as an Early Adopter of the OECD Common Reporting Standard and as a global leader in the capture, recording and exchange of beneficial ownership information.

Tony Abbott the Australian PM wrapped up the G20 with a final comment:

"The thing about the G20 is that it is large enough to be representative of the wider world and it's small enough to be effective," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott after the summit. "People around the world are going to be better off, and that's what it's all about".

Well said Mr Abbott, and congratulations to Australia on a year of progress and on putting jobs and growth at the top of the agenda.