Brisbane, Australia, 15-16 November 2014
The Australian G20 Presidency made a critical contribution to the G20 agenda, focusing on commitments for growth and jobs, such as the National Growth Strategies (NGS) which aimed at lifting the global GDP by 2% above the baseline by 2018 and the “25x25” commitment to reduce the gender gap in labour market participation by 25% in 2025. Leaders also endorsed 7 of the 15 actions under the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan, as well as the new global Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEoI), developed by the OECD.
During its Presidency of the G20, Australia emphasised the need to promote growth, jobs and resilience in the global economy, in a context dominated by concerns with current economic and social conditions, i.e. a sluggish economic growth - where the four drivers of growth, investment, trade, credit and emerging market economies, were still running at low speed – and a massive jobs crisis.
These concerns dominated Leaders’ discussions at the Summit in Brisbane, while geopolitical tensions and their potential economic impact were also part of the Summit “backdrop”. In this challenging environment, there was a fair consensus among Leaders on the need to stimulate global demand – where and when possible and desirable – while implementing ambitious structural reforms.
OECD Contributions to Brisbane
- Macroeconomic and Reform Priorities Report (OECD, IMF, World Bank - February 2014)
- Quantifying the Impact of G-20 Members’ Growth Strategies (OECD, IMF, World Bank - June 2014)
- Achieving stronger growth by promoting a more gender balanced economy (OECD, ILO, IMF, World Bank - August 2014)
- OECD Secretary General Report to G20 Finance Ministers on Tax Matters (OECD -November 2014)
- G20 Leaders' Communiqué (pdf)
- Bribane Action Plan (pdf)
The “2 in 5” target has been worked out and substantiated with the support of OECD, as was the objective of reducing the gender gap in labour market participation by 25% by 2025.
The OECD was also the linchpin behind the progress achieved by the G20 in the area of taxation – both BEPS and the move towards Automatic Exchange of Information. Our Organisation also made key contributions on trade –trade facilitation, trade in services, the analysis of trade-related commitments as part of the National Growth Strategies – and contributed actively to the preparation of the G20 Trade Ministerial meeting in Sydney, in July 2014; on anti-corruption - corruption and growth, foreign bribery, public procurement and asset disclosure; on investment – with specific emphasis on long term investment financing by institutional investors.
Going forward, the OECD has been tasked, in the Communiqué and in the Brisbane Action Plan, to support the follow-up of the NGS and the gender gap reduction target; to finalise the delivery of the G20/OECD BEPS Action plan, to support the transition towards AEoI and enable developing countries to make the best use of the changing international tax environment.
The Organisation has been requested by Leaders to increase the scope of the monitoring of trade and investment protectionist measures, while continuing to promote the principles and effective approaches to long-term investment financing by institutional investors. Drawing on its multifaceted work on long-term investment, institutional investors, policy framework for investment and PPPs, the OECD will be a key contributor to the activities of the GII and GIH (an MoU between the GIH and the OECD was signed in April 2015). The OECD will also lead the IOs contributions to the work of the G20 subgroup responsible for financing issues under the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan and contribute to the other elements of the G20 energy agenda (phasing out of fossil fuels subsidies, energy access for all, renewable energy). Finally, the OECD will make contributions to the work of the G20 on development, including infrastructure, food security, human resources development and financial inclusion.
Leaders endorsed a short communiqué, which largely focused on concrete deliverables and commitments for growth and jobs – notably the endorsement of a 2% upside growth ambition by 2018 (the “2 in 5” objective), the NGS aimed at achieving this objective (and summarized in the Brisbane Action Plan), and the commitment to reducing the gender gap in labour market participation by 25% in 2025 (the “25x25” commitment). As underlined by SG Gurría, the strategies in support of the 2 percent growth ambition, if fully implemented, would add the equivalent of an “Australia and a New Zealand” to the world economy; while achieving the “25x25” objective would bring more than 100 million women into the labour force and would add between 1.2 and 1.6pc point growth by 2025. Leaders also endorsed G20 countries’ Employment Plans.
In the area of investment, Leaders endorsed the Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII), a multi-year work programme to lift quality public and private infrastructure investment and agreed to establish a Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) that will be based in Sydney, Australia. The G20 will also continue its work on bolstering long-term investment financing by institutional investors, including through the completion of the G20/OECD effective approaches to the implementation of the High-Level Principles, endorsed in St. Petersburg, and through the development of a G20/OECD checklist.
In the area of trade, and building on the OECD’s analysis of global value chains (GVCs), the communiqué recognises the importance of trade-enabling structural reforms, including in the area of services, and of trade facilitation for the smooth functioning of GVCs and for harnessing the potential of trade for growth and jobs. The communiqué also refers to the importance of the trade component of NGS. In his intervention on trade, SG Gurria made a strong call to use trade as the ultimate structural reform tool, and praised “unilateral trade disarmament” for individual countries’ benefit, considering the reality of GVCs.
Progress on the international tax agenda – notably on tackling BEPS and moving towards AEoI - featured among the key deliverables of the Summit. Leaders endorsed the first 7 of the 15 actions on BEPS, delivered in the context of the G20/OECD BEPS project as well as the new global Common Reporting Standard for AEoI, developed by the OECD. In his address to G20 Leaders, SG Gurría highlighted the quantum leap achieved by the G20 on taxation and conveyed the message that “taxation is now catching up with globalisation”. He insisted that the G20 efforts on tax transparency and the move towards of AEoI have already resulted in “voluntary disclosures” leading to additional revenues of €37 billion. The G20 communiqué also recognises the need for transparency in the area of taxpayer-specific rulings found to constitute harmful tax practices.
Leaders endorsed beneficial ownership principles and an updated anticorruption action plan, which relies on the newly adopted G20 High-Level Principles on Corruption and Growth, which the OECD helped shape with its sectoral analysis on corruption and growth. Leaders committed “to lead by example in combating bribery, including by actively participating with the OECD Working Group on Bribery with a view to exploring possible adherence to the OECD Anti-bribery Convention”.
Leaders agreed on International Principles for Energy Collaboration as well as on an Action Plan for Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Efficiency. Last but not least, in the area of development, Leaders agreed, inter alia, on the 2014 Financial Inclusion Action Plan, the G20 Food Security and Nutrition Framework and the Development Working Group Accountability Framework – all documents to which the OECD contributed substantially (the Food Security and Nutrition Framework is based on the OECD – FAO report to the G20 entitled Opportunities for Economic Growth and Job Creation in Relation to Food Security and Nutrition). They welcomed OECD’s deeper engagement with developing countries in the context of the BEPS project and the move towards AEoI.