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2016年5月23日 (月)

G7財務相会議 サミットで協調さらに深めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
G-7 leaders should follow up Sendai finance meeting with deeper cooperation
G7財務相会議 サミットで協調さらに深めよ

It is important for the major advanced nations to boost cooperation to lead the global economy toward stable growth despite persistent economic uncertainty.

The meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of Seven major developed countries reaffirmed in Sendai that they will mobilize all three policy measures to play the leading roles in putting the world economy on track for sustainable growth: monetary policy, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms.

The participating countries shared an understanding that the global market has become more stable compared to a while ago, but it faces increasing uncertainty caused by, among other factors, Britain’s possible exit from the European Union.

China and other emerging economies still suffer from a slowdown. It is natural for the G-7 to show determination to fulfill its responsibilities to play a leading role to boost growth.

When it came to flexible fiscal stimulus, one of the key topics at the meeting, Japan and the United States, which are positive toward such action, failed to fully bridge the gap with Germany and Britain, which place emphasis on fiscal discipline. Many of the participating countries reportedly said that perhaps it is quality that matters most in implementing fiscal stimulus measures.

How can each country facilitate “high-quality investment” in accordance with the respective conditions to help each economy grow? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should lead deeper discussions when he chairs the Ise-Shima summit meeting later this week.

Rift over yen intervention

Meanwhile, it is worrisome that Finance Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew were unable to resolve their rift over foreign exchange rates when they held talks on the sidelines of the Sendai gathering.

During a press conference, Aso once again showed he would not refrain from intervening in the currency market against excessive yen rises. “[Exchange rates for the yen] over the past several weeks cannot be described as orderly,” he said.

Lew, on the other hand, issued a warning against Tokyo’s possible intervention, saying, “It’s a pretty high bar to have disorderly [currency] conditions.”

Increased disagreement between Japan and the United States could encourage speculators to take advantage of the situation, thus inviting violent fluctuations in currency markets. It is important for Tokyo and Washington to communicate in detail with each other while placing their top priority on stabilizing the financial market.

In the meeting of finance ministers, the G-7 nations also agreed to step up measures against international tax evasion, following the release of the so-called Panama Papers that have revealed partially how tax havens are used. The participants also agreed to urge many other countries to join an international scheme that will allow their tax authorities to share bank account information, among other measures.

Tax avoidance cannot immediately be deemed illegal, but can undermine confidence in the tax system. The summit meeting should look into rules to ensure fair international taxation.

The Sendai gathering also compiled an action plan on combating the financing of terrorism. Measures include enhanced information exchange among the G-7 countries and lowering the maximum amount of cash individuals can bring into another country without reporting the sum to customs.

Cross-border financial transactions have to be cut off to stop terrorist organizations. The G-7 should urge other countries to also work together on this issue.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 22, 2016)


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