New Delhi: Ahead of the G20 Summit, the United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said advancing the US-India relationship will be a priority this week. “We highly value our bilateral relationship with India. In fact, this is my fourth time in India over the last year, making it the country I visited most frequently as Treasury Secretary,” she said at a press gaggle here today. She added that expanding the bilateral economic ties with India and the cooperation between the two countries on global challenges “is crucially important to us”.
Praising India’s Presidency of G20, she said, “Our goals for the G20 have coincided closely with those of India. We’ve tackled very important challenges”.
When asked about the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin this weekend and how that might reshape the meetings or potentially affect the utility of the G20 going forward if these two leaders at the highest levels aren’t here, Janet emphasized that the G20 is a prime contributor to the solution of global challenges. “We see it as the premier organization that on a global basis is taking on critical challenges facing the global economy and, particularly, the Global South. And I believe the G20 — in spite of obvious problems due to the — due to Russia’s war against Ukraine and Russia’s, you know, general absence from G20 initiatives, I believe the G20 has been extremely effective.”
Replying to a query on whether the G20 will be able to reach an agreement on a communiqué and, specifically, on the war in Ukraine as part of that, Janet said it would be “challenging to craft such language, but I know the negotiators are discussing it and working hard to do so. And we stand ready, certainly, to work with India to try to craft a communiqué that successfully addresses this concern”.
Janet added: “Under India’s leadership, debt has been international debt and providing relief to countries that are overindebted — partly because of the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine, but also the high-interest-rate environment — and believe we’re beginning to make significant progress there. So, I do see the G20 as a very effective forum. We appreciate India’s leadership. We look forward, ourselves, to hosting the G20 in 2026. And even without Russia’s active participation and the tensions the war has created, I still see the G20 as highly effective.”
Referring to China she said, it faces a variety of both short- and longer-term global economic challenges “that we’ve been monitoring carefully, including less of a pickup in consumer spending than had been anticipated in the aftermath of the COVID restrictions, as well as longstanding issues with respect to the property sector and debt — debt related to that”. In the longer term, she said the population growth of China had now turned negative and the labour force was beginning to shrink.
“So see China’s growth as slowing over time. That said, China has quite a bit of policy space to address these challenges. So, we’re monitoring the situation. I don’t see it as having a very significant, direct impact on the United States. Some countries in East Asia are more likely to be aff- — affected by the slowdown. But it’s something that we are keeping an eye on,” she said.
She further said that the US was committed to supporting emerging markets in developing countries and to addressing global challenges. “This includes our ongoing work on evolving the multilateral development banks,” she said here today.
“We’ve already made significant progress in expanding the MDBs’ financial capacity. The recommendations that are currently being implemented or under consideration across the MDBs could unlock an additional $200 billion over the next decade. Those are crucial additional resources for reducing poverty, advancing global health security, and combating climate change,” she said. She added, “And we look forward to more work with the regional development banks and on how to achieve greater collaboration across the MDB system, including to increase access to climate finance.”
According to Janet, there was scope to do even more on financial capacity, including through some of the more medium-term recommendations of the G20 Capital Adequacy Framework review, particularly with respect to callable capital.
She informed that the Biden administration would be asking Congress for two and a quarter billion dollars to boost the World Bank’s concessional finance for global challenges and for crisis response. And we’ve requested authorization for a loan of up to $21 billion for the International Monetary Fund, including for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, “which desperately needs more resources”.
The US also hopes to build support for an equi-proportional increase in quotas during meetings this week, she said.
The US will also discuss debt relief to countries, including under the Common Framework for Debt Treatment where progress has been too slow. The US would further seek G20 members’ support to an extensive and strategic multilateral action in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. “We also remain committed to support for Ukraine and recently put forward a supplemental funding request. There has been bipartisan support for this funding to date, and it’s critical that we continue to provide timely economic assistance,” she stressed. She said the US was also grateful for the involvement of its partners, including the €50 billion package proposed by the European Union and the $15 billion International Monetary Fund programme, which has been essential to Ukraine’s efforts to implement reforms and stabilize the economy.
“And we need to remain focused on addressing the devastating consequences of the war, including its impact on food security,” she asserted. Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative is “deeply concerning” and is particularly being felt by low- and middle-income countries, she said and added that in response, the US hoped to move forward on efforts such as supporting the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme and working toward a successful replenishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
– global bihari bureau