By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
IIP Staff Writer
September 3, 2013
“The economic context for this discussion is very different from last year,” a senior official said during a recent White House background briefing on the trip. “It will be the first one since November 2010 that will not be dominated by urgent measures to resolve the financial crisis, initially in the United States and then in Europe.”
Before attending the G20 Russia Summit, President Obama will meet September 4 and 5 with Swedish and other Nordic leaders in Stockholm to discuss climate change, defense and security cooperation, global development, and trade, a senior administration official says.
The Russia Summit will be the seventh G20 summit Obama has attended since taking office in 2009.
“Turning to a few other initiatives this year, one is work in this forum to prevent tax evasion — illegal tax evasion and legal tax avoidance, which is when companies use legal loopholes to reduce or avoid taxes,” the official said. The United States has been a world leader in passing and implementing legislation that increases disclosure requirements for individuals and financial institutions to crack down on illegal tax evasion, the administration official said.
The Obama administration hopes to convince others in the G20 to adopt a similar disclosure standard globally, he added.
“We will also be working in St. Petersburg to get support globally for the kinds of measures that we have laid out for countries to close tax loopholes and avoid a race to the bottom where tax competition leads countries to lose revenue and companies to make inefficient decisions when they locate where they pay the lowest tax,” the official said.
He said that discussions among G20 leaders need to include addressing the world’s poor, financial inclusion and food security. “We’ll also look forward to making progress on the president’s climate change agenda and on work to reduce corruption internationally.”
Another senior administration official noted that going into this economic summit, the U.S. economy is in the strongest position of any time since the G20 began, while also achieving considerable fiscal consolidation. The U.S. economy has expanded for four years, with private demand growth averaging 3 percent in recent years, and private employers have added more than 7 million jobs.
Administration officials also said the Obama administration’s approach to putting jobs and growth at the center of its economic policies has had the best impact on spurring the recovery from one of the nation’s deepest recessions since the 1930s.
“We need to rededicate ourselves to promoting a lasting rebalancing of global demand,” the official said. “We welcome signs that Europe’s long recession is ending and their critical steps to restore financial stability.”
The administration official also noted changes that have transformed the global financial regulatory system since the height of recession in 2009. “Four years later, we’ve made substantial progress in implementing that internationally consistent framework of reforms in each of our financial systems,” he added.
While meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt September 4, Obama is expected to discuss global climate change efforts, international military operations, support for democracy and civil society in Europe and the Middle East, and global development, the senior administration official said.
Obama also plans to meet privately with King Carl XVI Gustaf and attend a dinner hosted by Sweden with other Nordic leaders from Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway.
The president also will highlight Sweden’s technical research programs and celebrate Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who is credited for saving at least 20,000 Jews during the Holocaust before disappearing after being detained by authorities in the former Soviet Union near the end of World War II, senior administration officials said.
ABOUT THE G20
G20 countries represent about 80 percent of the gross domestic product globally and nearly 80 percent of world trade. They also represent two-thirds of the world’s population.
Members of the G20 include the European Union and the following 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The G20 also includes the members of the Group of Eight most advanced economies — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. The organization was formed in 1999.