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G20 vows to boost world economy by $2tn

World's largest economies sign an agreement that summit host Australia calls "unprecedented".

Last updated: 23 Feb 2014 09:47
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The US finance minister called agreement significant and crucial to 'turning the next page' [AFP]

Finance chiefs from the 20 largest economies have agreed to implement policies to boost the world economy by more than $2tn over the coming five years.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, host of this year's Group of 20 summit in Sydney, said the statement from the G20 finance ministers and central bankers was "unprecedented", the Associated Press news agency reported on Sunday.

Hockey said the plan heralded new cooperation in the G20.

"We are putting a number to it for the first time - putting a real number to what we are trying to achieve," he told a news conference.

"We want to add over $2 trillion more in economic activity and tens of millions of new jobs."

The move seeks to boost the gross domestic product of G20 countries by 2 percent above the levels expected for the next five years, creating tens of millions of new jobs, according to AP.

"We will develop ambitious but realistic policies with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming 5 years," the statement, cited by the Reuters news agency, said.

The deal is also something of an achievement for Hockey, who spearheaded the push for growth in the face of some scepticism, notably from Germany.

"What growth rates can be achieved is a result of a very complicated process," Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's finance minister, said after the meeting.

"The results of this process cannot be guaranteed by politicians."

'Turning next page'  

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the agreement was significant and crucial to "turning the next page" in the global economic recovery.

"G20 members have spoken clearly: boosting growth and demand tops the global economic agenda," Lew said in a statement. 

Australia is acting as president of the G20 this year, following Russia in 2013 and ahead of Turkey next year.

The growth plan borrows wholesale from an IMF paper prepared for the Sydney meeting, which estimated that structural reforms would raise world economic output by about 0.5 percent per year over the next five years, boosting global output by $2.25tn.

The IMF has forecast global growth of 3.75 percent for this year and 4 percent in 2015.

Each country will present a comprehensive growth strategy to a summit of leaders scheduled for November in the Australian city of Brisbane.

The G-20 combines the world's major industrialised and developing countries from the United States to Saudi Arabia and China, representing about 85 percent of the global economy. 

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