Abe to tout economic measures at G-20 talks

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will promote the government’s measures to prop up the flagging economy, including overdue projects pushing structural reforms, at the G-20 meeting over the weekend, Japanese officials said.

He will also explain his intention to enhance aid in the child-rearing and social security sectors.

Before his departure to Turkey, Abe told reporters in Tokyo on Friday, “I’d like to strengthen cooperation in the international community to ensure sustainable growth of the world economy.”

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso will also attend the G-20 event.

Leaders from the Group of 20 major economies are set to discuss challenges including downside risks to the global economy amid China’s slowdown and the need for a coordinated investment strategy during their annual meeting in Antalya, Turkey.

The G-20 leaders are also expected to discuss how to deal with a continued flood of refugees to Europe and increasing incidents of violence, including those related to Islamic State group militants, according to G-20 officials.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s presentation is likely to draw attention from participants at the summit as the United States and many other countries hold serious concerns about the deceleration of the world’s second-largest economy.

Xi will meet with his G-20 counterparts in the two-day meeting starting Sunday at a time when China is facing slowing economic growth amid sluggish industrial output and exports, with data released last month showing the pace of growth slipped below 7 percent in the July to September quarter for the first time since the global financial crisis unfolded in 2008.

Abe will also talk about the implications of last month’s free trade agreement between the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries that will cover some 40 percent of the global economy.

The 12 countries are trying to implement the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership early next year.

On the political front, Abe said he was eager to take up the issue of China’s unilateral creation of artificial islands in a disputed area of the South China Sea based on the principle of freedom of navigation and the rule of law, as well as compliance with international law.

“Many countries are concerned” about China’s behavior in the South China Sea, the prime minister said.

China’s massive reclamation project prompted the U.S. to send a ship and aircraft within an area surrounding the artificial islands that China has claimed as its territory.

U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss topics including “climate change, cybersecurity, refugees, global health security, and counterterrorism,” during the G-20 summit, Obama’s top foreign policy adviser, Susan Rice, told reporters.

The leaders will discuss their goal to lift by at least 2 percentage points the growth of the entire G-20 economy, which was set during their summit last year in Brisbane, Australia, according to the G-20 officials.

The G-20 countries will take up an investment strategy aimed at improving infrastructure and helping small and midsize businesses.

In Washington, a Treasury official expressed concern about the slumping Japanese economy, especially its lackluster growth rate.

The International Monetary Fund warned the global economy could fail to achieve steady growth if leaders improperly address challenges such as China’s slowdown and a possible hike of U.S. interest rates by the end of the year.

“In an environment of declining commodity prices, reduced capital flows to emerging markets and higher financial market volatility, downside risks to the outlook remain elevated,” the Washington-based lender said in a recent report that is likely to form part of G-20 leadership discussions.

The G-20 groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.