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G8 Finance Ministers' Meetings

Statement of G7 Finance Ministers
and Central Bank Goverors

Dubai, September 20, 2003

Agenda for Growth - September 2003
G7 Statement Regarding the Economy of the Palestinian Authority

Recent data indicate that a global recovery is underway. Equity markets have rebounded, confidence has increased, financial conditions have improved, oil prices are expected to remain stable and inflation is under control.

Macroeconomic policies should continue to support the recovery while ensuring medium-term fiscal sustainability. However, for growth to strengthen, be sustained and be less unbalanced, structural reforms must be accelerated. We support the progress made to reform tax and regulatory regimes, labour markets and pension systems. Further efforts are needed. Our top priority is to raise productivity and employment. We will do our part in further reforms as set out in the attached Agenda for Growth.

We reiterate the importance of a rules based and multilateral approach to trade. We are disappointed at the breakdown of trade negotiations in Cancun. We urge a speedy resumption of the Doha Round which is vital for global growth and the alleviation of world poverty. We believe that the immediate blockages can be removed and, with an effort on all sides, agreement reached on the remaining issues. We welcome the International Financial Institutions' proposed assistance for countries to deal with the transition to a more open trading system.

We reaffirm that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals. We continue to monitor exchange markets closely and cooperate as appropriate. In this context, we emphasize that more flexibility in exchange rates is desirable for major countries or economic areas to promote smooth and widespread adjustments in the international financial system, based on market mechanisms.

Effective and persuasive surveillance is crucial. Even in current favourable conditions, the IMF should identify vulnerabilities, in particular currency mismatches, and provide candid advice on policy reforms. We welcome the agreement to publish exceptional access reports. We welcome the increasingly widespread use of collection action clauses (CACs) in foreign sovereign bond issues. We look forward to further work on the Code of Conduct, which will be discussed by the G-20 meeting in October.

We encourage emerging market countries to pursue sound policies and to enhance their climate. This will help attract flows, reduce external vulnerabilities, and support sustained growth. We welcome the progress Brazil and Turkey have made in implementing structural reforms and support further efforts. We welcome today's agreement between Argentina and the IMF. The implementation of the program will be the key to restore strong and long-lasting economic growth and investment climate. We look forward to a speedy agreement with private creditors ensuring fair treatment.

We remain committed to transparency and effective exchange of information between countries as vital weapons is the fight against money laundering and tax evasion. We strongly urge those OECD countries that have not taken necessary steps – in particular in allowing access to bank information – to do so as soon as possible.

We welcome the work of the Financial Stability Forum, in particular in areas of audit, financial analysts, credit risk, reinsurance and rating agencies, and encourage it to continue strengthening cooperation in these areas.

We reaffirm our commitment to fight global poverty and to help developing countries achieve the international development goals of the Millennium Declaration. In this respect, we discussed financing issues and results based measurement. We asked the IMF and the World Bank to do further work on aid effectiveness, absorption capacity, financing facilities and results-based measurement mechanisms, and report at the Annual Meetings in September 2004. We welcome the views of developing and emerging market countries on these issues.

We reaffirm our strong commitment to complete the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. We urge all bilateral creditors to join with us in cancelling out the 100% of their eligible claims. We ask the IFIs to review the methodology for calculating the amount of "topping up" debt relief. We look forward to the outcome of the IFIs work on low income countries vulnerabilities to exogenous shocks.

Since September 11, 2001, we have made significant progress in the fight against terrorist financing, although much remains to be done. We look forward to the Fund and Bank making terrorist financing/money laundering assessments a permanent part of their work. We have intensified the dialogue with several non-G7 countries to prevent abuse of non-profit organisations and alternative remittance systems. We seek to eliminate terrorist financing through implementation of measures in accordance with the FATF Eight Special Recommendations.

We welcome both the Afghan donors meetings this month and the upcoming Iraq Donors' Conference. We reaffirm our support for a multilateral effort to help rebuild and develop Iraq, based on a needs assessment led by the World Bank at the Donors' Conference in Madrid, next month. We support the IMF and the World Bank rapidly providing, subject to their policies, financial and other assistance to Iraq and call upon regional financial institutions to do likewise. We call upon the Paris Club to make its best effort to complete the restructuring of Iraq's debt before the end of 2004. We urge all non-Paris creditors to cooperate.

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Agenda for Growth - September 2003

We, the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, have today agreed on an Agenda for Growth. This Agenda follows the successful cooperative approach of our two recent G7 Action Plans – the October 2001 Action Plan on Terrorist Financing and the April 2002 Action Plan on Emerging Markets – in which we defined objectives and then reported on progress toward those objectives at subsequent meetings.

Higher growth is essential to raise incomes and create more jobs. Without higher growth we will not have the resources to deal with an aging society, provide adequate national security, or, more generally, provide the means for people to pursue a more enjoyable life for themselves and their children. Moreover, higher economic growth in the G7 is one of the most effective ways we can reduce poverty around the world. Higher economic growth throughout the G7 will redress global imbalances that arise inter alia from uneven growth within the G7. Economic growth has been too low for too long in the G7, and while there are notable recent policy changes, it is time to bolster our efforts.

Key objectives

The reasons for low growth differ from country to country. But as shorter-term demand-side problems are addressed and the global recovery proceeds, longer-term supply-side impediments to higher productivity growth and employment are being revealed in many countries. Our key objectives, therefore, are on the supply-side - structural policies that increase flexibility and raise productivity growth and employment.

What have we done recently?

Progress achieved so far provides a good foundation to build on. Examples, one for each country, include: reductions in marginal tax rates on dividends and capital gains in the United States; improved incentives to work in the United Kingdom; sustainability of the public pension system along with higher limits on savings in private retirement plans in Canada; pension reform in France; tax reform in Germany; flexibility in labor contracts in Italy; and new R & D tax credit in Japan.

What more will we do?

Each of our governments intends to pursue additional pro-growth policies. Examples include: tort reform in the United States; a reform agenda 2010 for labor market and the pension system in Germany; public sector reform and further steps in health care reform in France; pension reform in Italy; Basic Policy for Economic and Fiscal Management and Structural Reform 2003 in Japan; measures to improve skills and labor force productivity in the United Kingdom; and full implementation of the five year tax reduction plan announced in 2000 in Canada. In the European Union, investment needs to be revitalized, with a particular emphasis on infrastructure and research and development.

Why do this as a Group?

These are primarily national responsibilities, but there are spillovers. Higher growth in the United States benefits the other G7 countries; but higher growth in the other G7 countries benefits the United States too. Moreover, many pro-growth polices, such as trade liberalization, involve all of us. Working as a group we intend to do regular supply-side surveillance, benchmarking proposals and reviewing results. This will complement our ongoing demand-side surveillance and mutually encourage progress toward pro-growth policies.

Source: Finance Canada

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