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G20 agrees to accelerate shadowy free trade deal
The world’s top powers agreed a plan “to boost global GDP by $2 trillion” (£1.3trn) at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, at the weekend.
The United States and European Union committed to accelerate the shadowy Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade deal which will prise open Europe’s large public sectors to be bought up by transnational corporations.
A total of 800 “reform commitments” were agreed at the conference, ranging from backing TTIP to removing trade tariffs and investing in infrastructure.
And the summit said that countries would be held to commitments made by inspections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, riding roughshod over nations’ supposed right to determine their own economic policies.
But developing countries took their own agenda to Brisbane, with China and Brazil calling for greater “solidarity and co-operation among the Brics countries” – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to challenge the economic dominance of the capitalist West.
Chinese President Xi Jinping signed deals with Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff to build a new Brazil-Peru railway and to invest in high-speed rail in Latin America.
Ms Rousseff praised co-operation between the two countries on green energy technologies.
And Mr Xi also demanded a greater say for non-Western countries in the IMF and reform of the “international financial system,” a global crackdown on tax evasion and assistance for developing countries to industrialise.
His calls for more public investment in economies gained an unlikely ally in Washington, with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning of a “lost decade” in Europe due to the EU’s privatising austerity drive.
The US urged Germany to up its feeble commitment to an extra €10 billion (£8bn) in public spending over three years – just 0.1 per cent of the leading European power’s GDP – fearing that Europe’s continuing economic decline would deprive its own companies of a lucrative market.