Exit strategies need co-ordination, Canada says

Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:57pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will urge the Group of 20 leading developed and emerging nations to co-ordinate efforts to withdraw economic stimulus measures and to press ahead with financial reforms, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Canada will host summits in June of the G20 as well as the smaller Group of Eight industrialized countries, and it laid out some of its plans for the gatherings in a briefing for reporters.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper believed it was important to work on exit strategies for massive government stimulus programs, in order to avoid spiraling debt and eventual inflation.

"It's a little premature to implement them (exit strategies), perhaps," the official said.

"But at this point it's important that countries, as we come out of the crisis and we begin to unwind some of the arrangements we had in the financial sector and we begin to look to the issue of fiscal challenges, that we do so in somewhat of a co-ordinated fashion."

Canada believes the job of financial reforms is not yet done and needs to be pursued, even though enthusiasm for fiscal regulation might be waning as the economy recovers, he said.

"At a time when we're coming out of the recession (it) is not the time to let up on continuing to strengthen regulation domestically, where it has to start, but also building on international co-operation," he said.

He declined to take a position on U.S. President Barack Obama's banking reforms but said "they're certainly a key part of the discussions that finance ministers and deputies are having over the coming period."

Canada has advocated that countries tighten their domestic rules and then submit them to international scrutiny, but has been less inclined to back a global set of regulations that all must abide by.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)