Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seoul summit to help solidify G-20 as regular gathering

via Yonhap NA, Seoul, Korea

The Seoul summit of the Group of 20 major economies is expected to establish the G-20 as a regular gathering of leaders to handle key global economic issues and set rules for sustainable growth, government sources said Thursday.

The local summit preparation committee and the finance ministry said there is a good chance that G-20 leaders will announce a move to hold a summit meeting on a regular basis like the G-7 meeting of advanced industrialized economic, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Asia-Europe Meeting.

"The G-20 has already established itself as a 'premier forum' for economic issues, and since host countries for the 2011 and 2012 summits have been set, there is wide support for the meeting to be held regularly in the future," a government official said.

Originally, the G-20 was a gathering of finance ministers but gained prominence when leaders met in Washington in November 2008 to tackle the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of U.S. investment giant Lehman Brothers earlier in the year.

Leaders from the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies and international organizations such as the United Nations have since met in London, Pittsburgh and Toronto, during which the G-20 has proven its worth by handling both crisis situations and helping to lay the foundation for how the global economy should grow in the future.

"The summit has shown it can solve critical problems not only in times of crisis, but in a post-crisis environment as shown by the agreement reached during the Gyeongju finance ministers meeting last month when members moved to prevent the currency issue from getting out of hand," he said.

To turn the G-20 summit into a regular gathering, efforts are underway to create a permanent secretariat. At present, the G-20 does not have a permanent secretariat, and host countries take turns coordinating the summit and various agenda items.

Initially, there were calls to operate an "online secretariat" that may be built up into a more permanent body in the future.

In addition to the G-20 summit, officials here said that efforts are underway to institutionalize the G-20 Business Summit so that it can be held alongside the meeting of global leaders.

France has already said it wants to hold a gathering of entrepreneurs similar to meetings held in Seoul. Businessmen can coordinate their agendas with government officials to tackle issues facing the global economy, they said.