Key drivers on the G20 Wish List

The G20 Summit in Brisbane this coming weekend has a big agenda, but two key drivers in particular are needed to satisfy the world’s economic ‘wish list’.

The focus at the G20 Summit in Brisbane must be about delivering incremental growth of two per cent in the years to 2018 and beyond. Its objectives also include improving economic resilience. Both of these themes were part of the recent B20.

The market has now had three to four months to digest and consider what the B20 put forward following its Summit in Sydney on 17 and 18 July 2014.

At that time, B20 Chair Richard Goyder, flagged the implementation of the standstill on protectionism and the winding back of trade barriers; preferential trade agreements (PTAs) to help realise better business outcomes; and greater promotion and protection of cross-border capital flows and foreign direct investment (FDI) through a Model Investment Treaty. These would be the three planks of a success platform for business.

Are the B20 recommendations aligned with G20 growth targets?

The short answer is yes – but there are two key areas of focus that, in particular, will enable the targets being achieved.

We share the Goyder B20 view that free movement across borders of goods, services, labour and capital is a key aspect of achieving growth and delivering greater economic resilience both for Australia and globally.

Actions that will encourage free trade flows are what business now needs most. A key example is the idea of forging stronger links with India to get them on board with free trade targets. The thinking must be about the ways we can continue to free up trade following what has been achieved in other regional nations such as Korea and Japan.

The second important area – and one in which Australia has already made a major positive contribution – is infrastructure.  Free trade flows cannot be achieved across our region without well-functioning ports, road, and rail.  Australia has a leadership position in the delivery of infrastructure that supports the supply chain. Beyond that, we also have a demonstrable track record in infrastructure funding modelling such as the successful ‘recycling of infrastructure capital’ approach.

Thus, our knowledge and success in this area can help inform other developing countries about what works.

Australia can share this valuable infrastructure sector knowledge and experience – and signal its support for the flow of free trade – at the coming G20 Summit discussions and beyond.

Image: G20 delegates at the joint B20, G20 infrastructure roundtable © Commonwealth of Australia


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