B20 on track to deliver policy recommendations to G20

Thursday 3 April 2014 – B20 Australia Chairman Richard Goyder AO today confirmed the B20 is on track to deliver a set of specific, actionable policy recommendations to G20 governments that contribute to the goal of global economic growth and job creation.

Speaking in Sydney ahead of a B20 Australia Leadership Group meeting, Mr Goyder said the B20 had made significant progress since it established taskforces around four priority areas: financing growth, human capital, infrastructure & investment and trade, at the end of last year.

“The B20 has undertaken research to identify the main barriers to economic growth and job creation and is developing a set of recommendations to address them,” Mr Goyder said.

“Approximately 300 senior business leaders from more than 30 countries have been meeting regularly to discuss the key challenges and potential responses faced in their policy areas. In addition, we have established an anti-corruption working group which will work across the four priority areas.

“This work is regularly tested with the B20 CEO Forum, a group of approximately 150 CEO level international business leaders to ensure the agenda is addressing challenges and themes common to G20 member nations.
“The output of the B20 process will be discussed and prioritised by delegates to the July B20 Australia Summit in Sydney.”

Mr Goyder said the B20 had continued to engage actively with the international business community and the G20 process through periodic meetings with G20 Sherpas, the joint G20 and B20 Infrastructure Roundtable and international business briefings, including meetings scheduled alongside the annual OECD Forum in Paris next month.

“The B20 has made significant progress towards our goal of preparing policy recommendations for G20 governments. We have continued an ongoing dialogue with the international business community and G20 governments to ensure their input is accounted for in the policy making process.

“The B20 is committed to running a transparent and inclusive process which will draw together at the July B20 Australia Summit in Sydney when the recommendations from each of the policy areas are finalised and prioritised.

“Following the July Summit, we will undertake a series of advocacy discussions in each of the G20 countries ahead of the November G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane.

“The B20 will harness the strength of the international business community to help Australia deliver concrete outcomes from its G20 presidency,” Mr Goyder said.

A summary of each policy area and its progress follows:

Financing growth - Michael Smith, CEO of ANZ Banking Group

The availability of credit to business is vital to global economic growth. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Communiqué in February noted that the core financial market reforms, building resilient financial institutions, ending ‘too-big-to-fail’, addressing shadow banking risks and making derivatives markets safer, should be substantially completed by the November Brisbane Summit. To ensure that global regulation does not inhibit growth and the creation of jobs, the Taskforce is examining how the core reforms can be implemented in a way that promotes an integrated global financial system, reduces harmful fragmentation and avoids unintended costs. The Taskforce is also examining how to provide greater recognition for emerging market economies in the development of international standards; address issues relating to the implementation of international standards in emerging market economies; facilitate greater infrastructure financing; and remove impediments to trade finance.

Human capital - Steve Sargent, CEO of GE Australia and New Zealand

Long term unemployment, youth unemployment and jobless growth are key human capital challenges. An employment paradox exists in many countries. While unemployment remains relatively high, many economies are also struggling to fill job vacancies. Workplaces are being transformed by technology, with one report suggesting 47 per cent of job categories could be automated within two decades. The B20 will make recommendations in five areas: maximising job creation, providing education, training and skills to meet labour demand, creating solutions to better match supply and demand, encouraging adaptability for labour markets to respond to rapid changes, and implementing measures to ensure accountability and real progress.

Infrastructure and investment - David Thodey, CEO of Telstra

G20 countries face a number of common challenges including population growth, especially in the cities. To address these challenges, at least $57 trillion is needed to fund infrastructure investment to 2030, but on current trends approximately $20 trillion will remain unfunded. Challenges persist across the G20, including risk/reward objectives for large pools of private sector capital that are misaligned with the projects of greatest need, varying and obscure procurement processes and regulatory and environmental approval delays. The infrastructure & investment taskforce has identified five areas where the G20 can take action to support infrastructure investment. Recommendations will address common challenges across the G20 to ensure a pipeline of productive projects, improve delivery of infrastructure projects, enhance the enabling environment for investment and remove the barriers to financing for long-term investment.

Trade - Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton

Growth in world trade has flattened since 2011. While additional tariff protections have been avoided since 2008, G20 nations have increasingly imposed a significant number of non-tariff barriers. Services are becoming a much more important part of world trade although they still only account for 20 per cent despite representing 70 per cent of global GDP. The B20 is examining potential policy solutions to facilitate trade growth including advocating trade liberalisation and resisting protectionism, enabling multilateralisation of preferential trade agreements, improving trade facilitation, lowering supply chain barriers and increasing the emphasis on trade in services.

Through the establishment of the anti-corruption working group, the B20 will also identify and highlight to the G20 specific instances in which corruption and a lack of transparency create impediments to economic and employment growth across the four priority areas.

Mr Goyder said the best way to drive strong, sustainable economic growth and create jobs is to work collaboratively on the key areas that will deliver a better environment for investment.“

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