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RF Finance minister tells what Russia strove for during its G20 presidency

December 23, 2013, 6:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Anton Siluanov wrote an article published in the newspaper Vedomosti

1 pages in this article

MOSCOW, December 23, (ITAR-TASS). During its G20 presidency Russian sougt to focus its efforts on solutions to matters concerning sustainable development, the creation of jobs, and tax evasion control, and also came forward with a number of initiatives in the field of long-term investments and national debt management, Anton Siluanov, Russian Minister of Finance, pointed out, summing up the results of Russia's G20 presidency.

"In the year of the country's presidency in the G20, we decided to focus on two principal matters -- the ensurance of a confident, sustainable and balanced growth and creation of jobs. At the same time, we availed ourselves of the presiding country's right to suggest new initiatives. On the financial track, we announced two themes: the financing of long-term investments and refinement of systems for national borrowings and debt management," the Minister wrote in an article published in the newspaper Vedomosti .

Siluanov recalled, "Five years have passed since the start of the world's financial crisis of 2008-2009. However, its consequences are still felt up to this day," and "the world economy has not yet restored its pre-crisis positions; the economic growth is weak and fragmented by regions". In the process, "Developing countries, which were the locomotive of world growth over the past decade, have been gradually losing their positions".

The Minister writes, "Throughout this year, a theoretical debate continued on what must be the authorities' reaction to the economic crisis and mounting unemployment, on the one hand, and to a high level of national debt, on the other". The resultant decision was that a combination of medium- and long-term measures is necessary to ensure stability of finances. "In the short term, it is important to restore economic growth rates. Therefore, a fiscal consolidation, if it is effected, should not be too active".

Siluanov's opinion is that "The key achievement of the G20 in 2013 was the adoption of medium-term fiscal strategies consolidating the obligations of countries to reduce national debt and budget deficit in the period until 2017".

The Minister believes that one of the main achievements of Russia's G20 presidency in the outgoing year is that the G20 group of the world's leading economies, for the first time in its history, began actively to discuss the problem of tax evasion control. This is evidenced by the endorsement of a package of measures to fight Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), as well as the adoption of a decision to work out and introduce standards for multilateral automatic exchanges of information for taxation purposes.

The Russian Finance Minister writes, "Despite the fact that the approved documents are, rather, of propounding and in many respects declarative nature, such an elaboration of sensitive issues is unprecedented to most G20 countries".

He recalls, "The Action Plan approved by G20 leaders at the meeting in St Petersburg to fight BEPS comprises 15 large-scale initiatives'' and the most ambitious aim of the Action Plan is "to consolidate the results of work in a new multilateral agreement on avoiding double taxation". In so writing, the Minister points out, "The accomplishment of this task seems rather complex, for even the traditional bilateral talks on avoiding double taxation may at times drag on for years".

Siluanov points out that the G20 has been unable so far to make a substantial progress in the cause of reform of the International Monetary Fund, for the reform process was regretfully brought to a standstill by the internal political situation in just one country". "Alas, until the internal contradictions of our partners are not settled, we shall not be able to move ahead," the Minister laments.

The view of the Russian Finance Minister is that Australia, the successor to Russia as G20 presiding country is faced with a continuation of the no easy work in order to achieve a practical result in 2014 on those obligations which the countries assumed under the St Petersburg Action Plan and a number of other documents adopted by the G20 leaders at the summit. Besides, Australia must also consider possible ways towards further raising the effectiveness of the work of the G20 proper," Siluanov maintains.

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