Lew outlines US' G20 agenda
At the upcoming G20 summit, US President Barack Obama will seek to ensure stronger growth, an environmentally sustainable future and a global economy that works for everyone, according to US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
He said Obama will call on other world leaders to follow through on the G20’s commitment to use all policy tools, including fiscal policy, to achieve robust and inclusive growth.
“He will underscore the importance of investing in jobs and supporting middle class incomes,” Lew said at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday.
The call for inclusive growth has been strong inside the United States, where middle class wage stagnation has been a key source of public grievance.
“Around the world, the message of anxious and angry citizens who feel left behind underscores the need for global financial discussions to show both an understanding of this concern and a commitment to action,” Lew said.
While Lew did not say which countries he is referring to, exploiting the public anger has been a major strategy for US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
A CNN/ORC poll conducted in December revealed that 69 percent of Americans say they are either “very angry” or “somewhat angry” about “the way things are going” in their country.
A November survey by Esquire/NBC found that about half of the more than 3,000 American adults polled are angrier today than they were a year ago.
Besides economic challenges, Lew also talked about the threat posed by climate change. He praised the US and China for recently completing their respective fossil fuel subsidy peer reviews, the first to be undertaken under the auspices of the G-20.
“We congratulate Germany and Mexico for launching their own reviews and encourage other G-20 members to do the same,” he said.
Lew, who was in China in July for the G20 finance minister and central bank governors meeting, praised the G20 for its contributions to meeting climate and other environmental challenges through the new Green Finance Study Group.
Both China and the US are likely to announce the ratification of the Paris Agreement at the G20.
“And we will continue to look for ways the G-20 can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement”, said Lu, who described the G20 as “proven to be a flexible forum for global cooperation”.
Matthew Goodman, a senior adviser on Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called Obama’s attendance at the G20 in Hangzhou a “legacy trip”, because G20 was part of the effort to stabilize the global economy shortly after Obama took office in 2009.
Goodman believes China will want to be a good steward of the organization.