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Leaders' talks at G20 summit could help address pressing global issues: British experts

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-08-19 11:22

LONDON - As leaders of the world's major economies prepare to head to China for next month's crucial G20 summit, some leading British economists said leaders' talks at the forum will be more important than ever in addressing pressing global issues.

Dr. Paola Subacchi, director of the International Economics Department at Chatham House, the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs, spoke to Xinhua in an exclusive interview about the critical part the summit in Hangzhou will play.

Wide Menu

Subacchi, an expert on the functioning and governance of international financial and monetary systems, said the summit gathering will cover a wide menu of issues ahead of a final communique being issued in what will be a wrap-up of discussions that started at the end of last year as part of the G20 process.

The communique will express commitments looking at issues such as green finance and energy sustainability as well as the economy and security, the expert said.

"Importantly, the G20 in China in September will see the leaders of the world's leading economies getting together. They will have the opportunity to speak around the table, talking for two days on pressing issues. It is an important forum to discuss the items that have been on the G20 agenda," she said.

World leaders are also expected to talk about Brexit and the impact of the decision by Britain to leave the EU, the US presidential election, according to Subacchi.

"There will also be many geo-political tensions to discuss, such as immigration and migration, the refugee crisis and the tensions in Europe. There is going to be a very wide menu," she noted.

"What I think will be interesting to see is whether there will be a more decisive steer on the need to embrace active fiscal policies and whether seeds will be established in the approach to economic policy-making," said the scholar.

New chapter for globalization

In a recent commentary, Alan Wheatley, associate fellow in International Economics at Chatham House, said the G20 should pursue a new charter for globalization.

"Too many people are rebelling against the free flow of goods, capital and people because they have not benefited from them. The G20 can stop the rot at its summit in Hangzhou by pledging vigorous efforts to share the fruits of globalization more equitable," he said.

On trade, Wheatley warned that public opinion in many countries has turned against free trade.

"The G20 must prevent the sour mood from spawning outright protectionism. Governments should pledge not to erect trade barriers, beyond accepted remedies, or discriminate against foreign direct investment," he commented.

No Substitute for G20

Prof. Gary Cook, who heads the Department of Economics at the University of Liverpool, agreed that leaders being able to talk freely away from the microphones is an important element of the G20 in China.

"The G20 does have a useful role to play, particularly its case for economic co-operation and in maintaining confidence.

"With Brexit there is still a lot of uncertainty and nervousness. The summit will give a strategic view of how that is viewed."

"There is no substitute for world leaders to meet face-to-face as they will in China. The economic situation has wobbled and there is fragility in the financial situation in some parts of the world," he said.

The economist expressed the hope to see the G20 promoting the idea that "free trade is in everybody's interest."

"Maintaining global peace and helping to foster a sensible deal on Brexit arrangements are important. The UK is important globally in the economic situation, and it is in everybody's interest to reach a satisfactory conclusion on the future relationship," he explained.

"The important legacies of the China summit should be firstly economic security and secondly political security. We are in what are perceived as difficult times, and what is needed at the G20 are frank discussions," said the professor.

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