On July 25-26, 2013 the fourth G20 Sherpas Meeting was held in St.Petersburg within the framework of the preparatory process for the G20 Leaders' Summit. The meeting was aimed at summarizing previous activities on various work strands of the Russian G20 Presidency year, and also at considering the agenda of the G20 Leaders' Summit scheduled for September 5-6.
The meeting started with the discussion of the issues of global economy and economic growth. It was noted that in view of recent global economic trends the G20 agenda on global economy had been significantly revised, particularly with respect to providing response to the current situation and elaborating new proposals on policy coordination.
"At the end of the previous year currency wars and tension in Europe were primarily discussed, but this year the focus of the discussion is shifting to other issues. And the issue of economic growth, which is put in the center of the Russian Presidency, comes to the fore for all the G20 members," Ksenia Yudaeva, the Russian G20 Sherpa and Chief of the Presidential Experts Directorate, said.
Much attention was given to the slowdown of economic growth. The Sherpas concluded that the global economy was more stable at the moment than it had been two or three years ago; and there were fewer areas of elevated risk. However, a number of issues still need to be addressed and discussed.
Another important item on the agenda - both within the framework of the Sherpas' Meeting and Finance Ministers and Central Banks Governors Meeting held in July - was the necessity of common actions in view of the exit of states emitting reserve currencies from the nonconventional monetary policy.
On the trade agenda, it was noted by the Sherpas that the World Trade Organization (WTO) continued to be the main regulatory tool; nevertheless, additional political support from the largest world economies to multilateral trade was crucial. The Sherpas emphasized the significance of the next WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, and noted that taking into account little progress achieved lately it would be very important to maintain trust in the global trade system. The issues of refraining from additional protectionist measures were also considered.
One of the most debated points was new tax policy. The Action Plan proposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests establishing a new taxation regime reflecting the current situation. "The international tax agreements developed amidst globalization in the current situation create serious gaps in the taxation regime; and the OECD Action Plan is aimed at eliminating these gaps," Ksenia Yudaeva explained.
Discussing the outcomes of the G20 Sustainable Energy Working Group the Sherpas considered the issues of enhancing transparency to decrease volatility of the energy market.
On the anti-corruption agenda such issues as interrelation of anti-corruption measures and growth, as well as combating foreign bribery and solicitation were considered.
A number of other issues were also given much attention to at the meeting, such as the development agenda, creating sources for investment financing, and job creation.
The main outcome of the meeting is specific building blocks of proposal on various work strands. These building blocks will be finalized at the following Sherpas' Meeting that will take place on the eve of the Leaders' Summit in September, and therefore will form the G20 Leaders' Declaration.
"During the Summit there are many particular initiatives to be discussed; and we hope that they will be approved, adopted, and will create the opportunities for further work," the Russian Sherpa concluded.