November 12, 2008 / 7:41 PM / 9 years ago

Canada wants G20 summit focus to be on growth

3 Min Read

<p>The opening ceremony of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Chiefs Meeting in Sao Paulo, November 8, 2008.Rodrigo Paiva</p>

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada called on Wednesday for this weekend's G20 summit on the global financial crisis to focus more on getting the world economy growing again rather than on regulatory issues.

"There are likely to be discussions about how we got here, and how to avoid having this happen again, and those things are probably more focused around financial regulations," an aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper said ahead of the Washington summit.

"But I think for most countries who are suffering from a global economic slowdown, or trying to prevent themselves from falling into a recession, the more urgent focus is around getting the global economy growing again."

The official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said Canada did not want "to get bogged down in the equivalent of constitutional talks around international financial regulation."

Harper said last week that the global economic outlook has become more pessimistic every week, and this appears to have shifted his focus more to immediate efforts to stave off serious economic dislocation rather than regulatory reform.

"Some of the fixes are not mysterious," the aide said. "A lot of problems on the regulatory side were problems at the national level and ... the quickest and easiest way to address them are also at the national level," the official said.

Canada's financial regulation system could serve as an example, he said, since its banks remain well capitalized with no mortgage crisis.

The official said he would assume some countries would talk about stimulus packages at the November 14-15 summit, which gathers important developed and developing nations at President George W. Bush's invitation.

In line with the focus on the immediate economy, Harper did not want to get sidetracked into what the aide termed as the secondary issue of whether the G20 should replace the G7 -- the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations -- as the main forum for discussing the global economy.

However, for all the talk about pragmatic steps to boost growth, Canada does see the need for more international action by bodies like the International Monetary Fund.

In separate calls on Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Canadian prime minister talked about "means to promote effective financial regulation at the national level and a strengthened international institutional framework," Harper's office said in a statement.

He and Peruvian President Alan Garcia agreed in another call "on the importance of a balanced approach to regulation to ensure transparency in markets and on the importance of keeping markets open and avoiding protectionism."

Harper will travel to Washington on Friday with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Editing by Rob Wilson

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