G20 aspires to faster economic growth, roadmap sketchy

Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:10am EST
 
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By Louise Egan and Jan Strupczewski

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The world's top economies have embraced a goal of generating more than $2 trillion in additional output over five years while creating tens of millions of new jobs, signaling optimism that the worst of crisis-era austerity was behind them.

The final communiqué from the two-day meeting of Group 20 finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney said they would take concrete action to increase investment and employment, among other reforms. The group accounts for around 85 percent of the global economy.

"We will develop ambitious but realistic policies with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming 5 years," the G20 statement said.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, who hosted the meeting, sold the plan as a new day for cooperation in the G20.

"We are putting a number to it for the first time -- putting a real number to what we are trying to achieve," Hockey told a news conference. "We want to add over $2 trillion more in economic activity and tens of millions of new jobs."

The targeted acceleration would boost global output by more than the world's eighth largest economy Russia produces in a year.

The deal was also something of a feather in the cap of Hockey, who spearheaded the push for growth in the face of some skepticism, notably from Germany.

"What growth rates can be achieved is a result of a very complicated process," Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after the meeting.   Continued...

 
Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers of G20 countries pose for a family picture near the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Rob Griffith/Pool