G20 summit addresses free trade and IMF; G2 emerges from US-China meeting; Anti-govt protests in Bangkok enter second week; European Central Bank to cut interest rates; and more
Top of the Agenda: G-20 Summit
The BBC reports that leaders at today's much-awaited G-20 summit in London are "close to an agreement" on steps to tackle the financial crisis. The article outlines several possible elements of such a deal, including:
- New funding to the International Monetary Fund, perhaps on the order of $500 billion (the fund's current reserve is around $250 billion).
- Steps to preserve free trade, including, potentially, an agreement to "name and shame" countries that breach free trade rules.
- Some steps toward increased banking regulation globally, including measures addressing tax havens and bankers' pay.
The New York Times reports leaders from several countries, particularly France and Germany, pressed for global financial regulations that could apply to the United States as well. Obama, for his part, cautioned ahead of the summit that the United States would not be the "voracious consumer market" it has been in the past and that other nations need to do more to spur growth domestically.
On the sidelines of the summit, Obama held direct meetings with China's President Hu Jintao in what some analysts described as the "G-2." The Financial Times reports Hu expressed China's commitment to spurring domestic demand.
Meanwhile, the managing director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, urged the officials at the summit to take immediate action (FT) to clean up the toxic assets that continue to poison the global financial system, saying the world faces a risk of its most prolonged recession in generations.
UPDATE: Final leaders' statement is here.
- This Backgrounder looks at the policy objectives of each of the twenty members in attendance at the summit.
PACIFIC RIM: Responding to North Korea
Meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said they were committed to a "stern, united response" (BBC) to North Korea if it follows through with plans to fire a rocket this weekend or early next week.
Yonhap reports North Korea has deployed fighter jets to guard the rocket launch site.
THAILAND: The Bangkok Post reports anti-government protests in Thailand have stretched into their second week, with demonstrators now surrounding both the Government House and the finance ministry.