The leaders of the Group of Twenty Major economies (G20), of which South Africa is a full member, met in Hangzhou, China, on September 4 and 5.
They announced an agenda that should once again call for policy makers to consider a legal framework that will seek to have the G20 itself ratified in parliaments and made a formal multilateral structure recognised in statutes.
The expansive reach the G20 has carved since the 2008 global financial crisis cannot be ignored and the public should have direct input and oversight on its activities via parliament for constitutionally itemised domestication.
Already, G20 agreements lead to localised laws. In their Consensus Communiqué the leaders conceded that this month’s meeting occurred “…at a time when the global economic recovery is progressing … but growth is still weaker than desirable”. Leaders discussed economy, security, human development, global financial crimes and global order.
The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation representing 85% of gross world product, 80% world trade and two-thirds world population. The vision is to strengthen the global growth agenda, integrate global economies and policy mechanisms.
It seeks to globalise the world more and expand open trade. For member countries like South Africa, the aim of the G20 is for inclusive economic growth to address poverty and inequality. The G20 is an unchecked powerful neo-liberalisation school for the West.
As aforementioned, the G20 remains an informal forum although it demands of members to have “well-designed and coordinated policies” over monetary, fiscal and structural matters. Political parties could find themselves at odds with their party leaders if the G20 agenda sought to overhaul party manifestos.
The G20 agreed on the transformation of the IMF and also agreed on Paris Club debt restructuring for lender nations. It also played a central role in getting Brazil and South Korea to join the Paris Club, with China also taking a bigger role.
It was through the G20 that Chinese currency, the RMB, would on October 1 be included in the IMF’s Special Drawing Right currency basket, joining the US dollar, the Japanese yen, British sterling and the euro.
This is a positive milestone in the transformation of the international monetary system. Since 2010, the G20 has been working on international tax cooperation to achieve a globally fair and modern international system, including advancing cooperation against base erosion and profits shifting, the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu’s pet project.
It is hoped that countries will be implementing the standard of automatic exchange of information by 2018, and sign and ratify the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
The G20 High Level Principles on Cooperation on Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery was also agreed upon.
The group also addressed how their law enforcement would have uniform approaches against “the techniques and channels of terrorist financing, including extortion, taxation, smuggling of natural resources, bank looting, and kidnapping for ransom, terrorism – effective exchanging information, freezing terrorist assets and criminalising terrorist financing.”