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Deals at the G20 high table
The big international story that panned out over the week was the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada. There was much debate, deep disagreements on the issue of debt, violent protests by activists and fury over the way in which the police dealt with them and some consensus among leaders of the grouping on the way forward. Broadly, these were the key resolutions agreed upon: Countryby-country reporting by multinational corporations of sales, profits, and taxes paid in all jurisdictions of operation;reduction of abusive transfer pricing, tax evasion;a requirement to disclose the beneficial ownership of companies, and the beneficiaries of trusts and foundations;automatic exchange of tax information;stronger due diligence requirements on banks, better enforcement of these requirements;and harmonising predicate offenses for money laundering.
But there group was divided over the vital issue of addressing public debt. The BBC reported that the group of 20 were split over the pace of budget cuts. Elaborating this point, it pointed out that "US President Barack Obama warned against fast and deep budget cuts, fearing damage to global growth. But European members, including the UK, France, and Germany, have already led moves to slash record public deficits. "
Sewell Chan, analysing the outcome of the summit in the New York Times wrote: " the gathering of the Group of 20 leaders, while acknowledging imbalances that predated the global financial crisis, did not address fundamental structural issues buffeting world economic stability. The United States still saves and invests too little and spends and borrows too much. China is holding down its currency - though promising to do less of it - to bolster its export-reliant economy. Europe, newly enamoured of pennypinching and stress-testing, still grapples with expensive social programmes in the face of grim growth prospects. "
The economics editor of the BBC, Stephanie Flanders discussed the summit in her blog Stephanomics. She wrote, "In recent months, G20 countries have submitted their economic plans to the IMF - which would then assess what the net impact would be on the global economy. "At face value", the report says, countries' plans "appear to deliver strong, sustainable and balanced growth. " However, considering the past experience of recovering from financial crises, the authors believe that countries are being too optimistic in their growth forecasts. "
Mitch Moxley of the Inter Press Service argued that "US President Barack Obama may have squeezed in the last word as the G20 summit wrapped up recently in Toronto, but it was China that came away looking like the summit's winner. " That's because he believes "China scored a big victory by having a line removed from the final G20 statement that said it would stop pegging the yuan to the U. S. dollar - a line that many G20 leaders had hoped to keep. "
Protests and crackdowns are now routine affairs at major economic summits across the world and this meet was no different. But the manner in which police acted against protestors has sparked a divisive debate in Canada that continues to rage on. Kevin Libin argued in the National Post, "The arrival of a G20 presents complicated security issues, sure. But dealing with complications is why we pay senior security people, like Toronto's police chief, the big dollars. I certainly don't recall any of Toronto's citizens agreeing to make it easy by sacrificing their rights for the privilege of hosting it. " Meanwhile, Toronto Star reported that an "Angus Reid poll, which surveyed 1, 003 Canadians and 503 Torontonians, found that 73 per cent of Torontonians and two-thirds of Canadians believe police treatment of protesters was justified during the G20 summit. "
From India's point of view, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to Canada was about more than just economic affairs. India and Canada signed a civilian nuclear deal, which paves the way for India to receive Uranium from that country. Welcoming the development, Globe and Mail put out this editorial comment: "a new nuclear deal signed between Canada and India is a long-awaited and welcome development. If it can be ratified quickly, and if it leads to real Canadian nuclear exports to India, it will bring more prosperity and cleaner energy to India, and will help make Canada the clean energy superpower of Stephen Harper's aspirations ...India is not and should not be treated as a pariah state over its nuclear programme. It has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it has also promised to never launch nuclear weapons first against an enemy (its nearest rival, Pakistan, also possesses nuclear capabilities).
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