PRIME MINISTER’S DIARY
Caption: G20 leaders gather at the commemorative photo session.
G20 Seoul Summit 2010
Prime Minister Naoto Kan attended the G20 Seoul Summit on November 11–12. He also participated in the G20 Business Summit, which took place just prior to the Summit.
The G20 Business Summit
At the Business Summit Round Table on Trade and Investment attended by about thirty CEOs, appraising the G20 contribution to an increase in trade by calling for restraint on protectionism measures and provision of trade finance, Prime Minister Kan called upon G20 members to take concrete actions against protectionism, in a response to concerns on new trade barriers and export restrictions on food and raw materials and on competitive devaluation of currencies.
The prime minister, as chair of APEC, said, “APEC leaders should clearly support multilateral trade systems and reject protectionism to bring a freer and more open Asia-Pacific.” He added, “Japan will expedite domestic consultation process on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and start talks with relevant countries.”
The CEOs welcomed Prime Minister Kan’s call for G20 members to assume more responsibility, commensurate with their weight in the world economy, to reach an early conclusion of the WTO Doha Development Round.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan delivers his address at the G20 Business Summit.
The G20 Seoul Summit
The Seoul Summit started with a working dinner on November 11. G20 leaders, under the theme of “Shared Growth Beyond Crisis,” had candid discussions on how to achieve sustainable growth as the world economy had passed through the financial and economic crisis. Leaders agreed to enhance policy coordination among G20 members toward the next summit in France, and adopted the Leaders’ Declaration.
More concretely, G20 leaders established the Seoul Action Plan for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, confirming their continuous efforts in areas such as monetary and exchange rate policies, trade and development policies, fiscal policies, financial reforms and structural reforms. Leaders also agreed to discuss “indicative guidelines” to assess large imbalances in due course. Prime Minister Kan, speaking about the foreign exchange rate, emphasized the importance of moving toward more market-determined exchange rate systems to reflect underlying economic fundamentals, refraining from competitive devaluation of currencies, and the keeping of a vigilant eye by advanced economies with reserve currencies on excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates. Supporting the G20’s work on external imbalance, Prime Minister Kan pointed out that Japan’s case is different from other surplus countries as its current account surplus is mostly attributed to income surplus, not trade surplus.
Leaders welcomed an ambitious reform of the IMF, including a doubling of quotas and shifts in quota shares to dynamic emerging markets and developing countries. Moreover, G20 leaders discussed development issues for the first time and endorsed a multi-year action plan. Citing Japan’s postwar experiences, Prime Minister Kan stated, “It is important that G20 members share their knowledge and experiences accumulated over time as donors and recipients, and Japan intends to further contribute to development of low income countries with its advanced technologies and experiences both in public and private sectors.”
On trade, leaders reaffirmed their standstill commitments and committed to rollback any new protectionist measures including export restrictions and WTO-inconsistent measures to stimulate exports, and also committed to promptly bring the Doha Development Round to a conclusion. Prime Minister Kan, following the discussion at the Business Summit, called for further effort from emerging countries toward an early conclusion of the WTO Doha Development Agenda based on the progress made. The prime minister introduced to his fellow leaders Japan’s Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships, which had been announced just before the G20 and APEC, and expressed his determination to continue to actively engage in various trade negotiations including the WTO.