At the end of 2013, Australia will take up the chair of the G20. This comes at a time when the G20 is criticised for lacking direction, after leading the successful coordination of fiscal policy at the height of the global financial crisis.
On June 12th, the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research and the Brookings Institution held a workshop in Washington on The G20 at Five, to discuss the difficulties facing the now five-year-old G20. The workshop is part of a project between the two organisations that aim to contribute to fashioning a G20 agenda for Australia’s year that revitalises the G20 process by focusing on the major policy coordination problems internationally.
Topics covered on the day included trade and the WTO, macroeconomic policy-making and international macroeconomic imbalances, the development agenda beyond 2015, and the relationship between emerging economies and the G20.
Addressing the challenges identified will require a G20 that “both delivers on substantive problems through the workstreams, and provides strategic leadership through the leaders’ summit,” as observed by Colin Bradford of the Brookings Institution.
One particular challenge that will be worth addressing is the deficit of infrastructure in Asia. Covering the shortfall would be a source of global growth the world badly needs, and would help draw the Asian G20 economies into a more active role in solving international coordination problems.
Peter Drysdale, of EABER, observed that the project is timely and “is a chance to fashion a G20 whose concerns and priorities mirror the changing structure of the international economy.”
The workshop was attended by leading academic thinkers from the Crawford School of Public Policy at the ANU and the Brookings Institution, as well as senior representatives from the IMF and the Commonwealth Treasury, and will be followed by a conference at the Crawford School in November 2013.