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Sitharaman recounts the progress made on major G20 issues during India’s presidency


Sitharaman said that in a roundtable discussion on debt servicing on Wednesday he was “quite positive” with all stakeholders, including China, “positively engaged”.

The first meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in Bengaluru in February, and due to the lack of consensus among the members on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the group failed to issue a joint statement and went instead with the “Chairman’s Statement”, which is India’s statement summarizing the discussions.

The second meeting took place here in Washington, DC, on the sidelines of the World Bank Group’s Annual Spring Meetings this week. And the bar has definitely been set low perhaps to prevent a repeat of Bengaluru.

“We have been very clear that we are not talking about an official statement or the president’s statement,” Sitharaman said.

A co-chairs press release issued by the three hosts of the roundtable — India as G20 chair, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank — said that among other things, members pledged to “urgently improve information sharing including macroeconomic forecasts and debt sustainability assessments at an early stage.” of the process.”

Global debt — money owed by both countries and non-state actors — reached $235 trillion in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund’s debt database.

Although not on the fund’s list, the worst cases of sovereign debt – money owed by countries – are Lebanon, Russia, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Zambia, which have officially defaulted; And Argentina, Ghana, Pakistan and El Salvador may be on the brink.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that 15 percent of low-income countries are in debt distress and negotiations to help them resolve their obligations through restructured payment schemes are in a standoff between Western-backed multilateral lenders such as the Fund and China, the largest bilateral lender. for developing countries. Beijing wants these institutions to suffer losses, “haircuts”, to save the afflicted countries.

The second meeting of G20 finance ministers and bank chiefs gave a new impetus to efforts to end the crisis. Despite the absent joint statement, all participants, including China, “participated positively,” said the minister.

Sitharaman also expressed his satisfaction with the progress made on five other issues that India has been prioritizing since assuming the presidency of the G20. Reform of multilateral development banks came second. It is an issue that India has chosen to focus on during its presidency.

The minister said it was “very well received” and cited as evidence of acceptance the panel of experts set up to chart the way forward – which includes Lawrence Summers, a US economist who served as Treasury secretary, and N K Singh, an Indian bureaucrat and economist. Their report is expected by July.

Climate Finance was Sitraman’s third. “This discussion about climate finance is also moving in a very positive direction, not only the current flow, but also the amount required to address current climate challenges. Also looking at transition costs, and the technology required.”

India has been critical of developed economies that are failing to live up to their commitments to the Green Box that was set up to help less developed — and therefore, historically less polluting — economies meet their self-set targets for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The minister said the fourth is the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion – a 2010 G20 initiative on financial inclusion.

“We had discussions in Bengaluru and we are having discussions here as well. Leveraging DPI – which is Digital Public Infrastructure – to achieve global financial inclusion, is a topic that every country has been keenly interested in, and people are looking forward to how they can best catch up with inclusion through the use of technology.” “.

The fifth is the subject of international taxation, said Sitharaman. It’s about how you tax electronic companies like Amazon that are headquartered in one geographic location but have businesses all over the world.

– Jans

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