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The G20 Hamburg Summit's Priority Agenda

John Kirton, Co-director, G20 Research Group
October 31, 2016

On December 1, 2016, Germany formally assumes the chair of the G20, as host of its summit in Hamburg on July 7-8, 2017. Germany's first task as chair will be to publicly announce its approach to the summit and its priority agenda. These were presented privately at the final meeting of the G20 leaders' personal representatives held by the 2016 Chinese chair in late October. It is thus now becoming reliably clear what the priorities of Germany's G20 Summit will be.

Germany's Approach

Germany begins by knowing it has a strong economy that has profited immensely from regional integration, globalization and close, cooperative global governance in key forums such as the G20. It views the G20 as a major success, serving as the pivotal platform for international financial and economic coordination, effectively ending the 2008/09 global financial crisis and enhancing open trade. Such success has brought to the G20 agenda several other topics, notably climate change, global development, labour and terrorism. It supports the established multilateral organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and United Nations by serving as a catalytic, cooperative focal point. Its influence flows from its globally predominant combined economic power, its institutional equality among it established and emerging country members, and its focus on positive sum solutions for one global market, climate and common future, as China's President Xi Jinping had proclaimed. On this foundation Germany as chair seeks to respect the G20's inherited agenda, serve as a strong negotiator and enhance co-operation among all G20 members.

Germany's Priority Agenda

Germany's priority agenda for the Hamburg Summit consists of ten pillars, as follows:

  1. Inclusive Growth. German chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasized that the first and most important priority is economic growth that benefits all. This is true to the G20's second distinctive foundational mission, set at the first G20 ministerial meeting in Berlin in December 1999, of making globalization work for the benefit of all.
  2. Inequality. Given the growing anti-globalization sentiment and increasing popular resistance to trade liberalization, the negative impacts of globalization must be directly addressed and overcome. This requires stronger measures to combat economic inequality within as well as among countries, both inside and outside the G20 ones.
  3. Resilience. The G20 will continue to reduce the impacts of shocks on societies and economies, and reinforce resistance in the face of future crises. This suggests a greater focus on social resilience and support than the G20's traditional focus on financial regulation and macroeconomic stimulus.
  4. Climate Protection. This longstanding Germany priority will be high on the Hamburg agenda. The focus will be on a fast, full implementation of the December 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change that becomes effective international law on November 4, 2016. Additional efforts will be made to secure the signature and ratification of countries that have not yet done so.
  5. Digital Economy: Germany will continue this central priority of China's 2016 presidency, by strengthening work among G20 countries at the ministerial and official level.
  6. Development. The focus will continue to be implementing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  7. Food: The G20 will continuing work on an action plan for food security and sustainable food assistance. Food security was a major achievement of the G7 summit that Angela Merkel hosted at Schloss Elmau in 2015.
  8. Health. Special attention will be given to health. The focus will be on anti-microbial resistance and responding to international pandemics, drawing on the lessons from the Ebola epidemic in 2014. Ebola was an important additional agenda item at the G20's Brisbane Summit in November 2014.
  9. Africa. Germany's G20 will seek to define development policy more broadly in its priority on Africa. It aims to produce a "Compact with Africa," aimed at boosting private sector investment there. There is a pressing need for direct investment in African countries, a need that cannot be met by outside government's international development assistance alone. Through such investment the G20 will seek to increase development and employment. This is done with a recognition that Africa has double the population and thus potentially the market size of the European Union, making it an attractive source of economic partnership and a potential engine of global economic growth.
  10. Migration. The G20 will respond to the challenges of migration on a global scale, rather than as a more restricted European one.

The Inherited Agenda's Individual Items

Beyond this priority agenda lies the broad set of issues that leaders identified at the Hangzhou in September 2016 to be dealt with by the G20 during Germany's year as host. These are listed below.

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Appendix: Hamburg's Inherited Agenda Identified in the 2016 Hangzhou Summit Declaration

Identified by Courtney Hallink, Researcher, G20 Research Group

Breaking a New Path for Growth

"We will set up a G20 Task Force supported by the OECD and other relevant international organizations to take forward the G20 agenda on innovation, new industrial revolution and digital economy, subject to the priorities of the respective future G20 presidencies, ensuring continuity and consistency with the results so far, and promoting synergies with other G20 workstreams." (2017)

More Effective and Efficient Global Economy and Financial Governance

"We welcome the entry-into-effect of the 2010 IMF quota and governance reform and are working towards the completion of the 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula, by the 2017 Annual Meetings. (2017)

"We reiterate our support for the work by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) to finalize the Basel III framework by the end of 2016, without further significantly increasing overall capital requirements across the banking sector, while promoting a level playing field." (End of 2016)

"We look forward to further efforts to clarify regulatory expectations, as appropriate, including through the review in October by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the guidance on correspondent banking." (October 2016)

"We also welcome the progress made on effective and widespread implementation of the internationally agreed standards on tax transparency and reiterate our call on all relevant countries including all financial centers and jurisdictions, which have no yet done so to commit without delay to implementing the standard of automatic exchange of information by 2018 at the latest and to sign and ratify the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Mattes."

"We ask the OECD to report back to the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors by June 2017 on the progress made by jurisdictions on tax transparency, and on how the Global Forum will manage the country review process in response to supplementary review requests of countries, with a view for the OECD to prepare a list by the July 2017 G20 Leaders' Summit of those jurisdictions that have not yet sufficiently progressed toward a satisfactory level of implementation of the agreed international standards on tax transparency." (June 2017 and July 2017)

"We call on the FATF and the Global Forum to make initial proposal by the international standards on transparency, including on the availability of beneficial ownership information of legal persons and legal arrangements, and its international exchange." (October 2016)

"We endorse the 2017-2018 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan to improve public and private sector transparency and integrity, implementing our stance of zero tolerance against corruption, zero loopholes in our institutions and zero barriers in our actions." (2017-2018)

"We ask the Anti-Corruption Working Group to develop and implementation plan before the end of 2016 as a flexible framework to carry this work forward with renewed high-level attention and urgency." (End of 2016)

Robust International Trade and Investment

"We commit to ratify the trade Facilitation Agreement by the end of 2016 and call on other WTO members to do the same." (End of 2016)

"G20 Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) participants welcome the landing zone achieved in the WTO EGA negotiations, and reaffirm their aim to redouble efforts to bridge remaining gaps and conclude an ambitious, future-oriented EGA that seeks to eliminate tariffs on a broad range of environmental goods by the end of 2016, after finding effective ways to address the core concerns of participants." (End of 2016)

"We extend our commitments to standstill and rollback of protectionist measures till the end of 2018." (End of 2018)

"We look forward to a progress report on the efforts of the Global Forum to the relevant G20 ministers in 2017." (2017)

Inclusive and Interconnected Development

"We will further develop the G20 employment plans in 2017 to address these commitments and monitor progress in a systemic and transparent manner in achieving the G20 goals especially on youth employment and female labour participation." (2017)

Further Significant Global Challenges Affecting the World Economy

"We welcome those G20 members who joined the Agreement and efforts to enable the Paris Agreement to enter into force by the end of 2016 and look forward to its timely implementation with all its aspects." (End of 2016)

"The G20 will continue to address forced displacement in 2017, with a view to developing concrete actions."

"The G20 will also examine migration issues in 2017."

"We call on the FATF to reflect by March 2017 on ways to progress in strengthening its traction capacity and enhanced effectiveness of the network of FATF and FATF-style regional bodies." (March 2017)

"We affirm the need to explore in an inclusive manner to fight antimicrobial resistance by developing evidence-based ways to prevent and mitigate resistance, and unlock research and development into new and existing antimicrobials from a G20 value-added perspective, and call on the WHO, FAO, OIE, AND OECD to collectively report back in 2017 on options to address this including the economic aspects."

"We look forward to the discussion under the upcoming presidency for dealing with these issues." (2017)

"We thank China for hosting a successful Hangzhou Summit and its contribution to the G20 process, and look forward to meeting again in Germany in 2017 and in Argentina in 2018." (2017 and 2018)

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