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G20 countries agree to halve deficits by 2013

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G20 countries agree to halve deficits by 2013


Leaders from the Group of 20 rich and developing economies have pledged to halve their respective budget deficits by 2013. But, with many nations at different stages of recovery, there was a decision to leave it up to individual countries to tailor their own policy choices.

President Barack Obama spoke for the US when he explained:
“We agreed to continue our efforts for creating jobs. That is my highest economic priority as president. And this is why we are focused on increasing global demand. Every economy is unique and every country will choose its own unique course. But make no mistake: we are moving in the same direction.”

The meeting had been billed as a bid to get everyone on board before November’s get together
in Seoul which is the deadline for leaders to agree bank rules and financial regulation. But while details were sketchy, maintaining a united front was paramount.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said:
“All the agreements here are voluntary, in the sense that we are sovereign countries. But we promised to act and the world expects us to perform. In the case of fiscal targets, there is agreement not just among leaders but also among the markets.”

But leaders fudged the controversial proposal of a bank levy as a way to recoup bailout costs. It was decided once again to allow each country to reflect on how to proceed. Europe had been pushing for a tougher response.

However Britain came out a winner by gaining implicit recognition for the new coalition government’s tough budget measures, announced last week.

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