G20 Finance Officials Fail to Produce Outcome Document

Reuters file photo
Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki is seen during the 2023 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — The Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank leaders failed to produce any document outlining the outcome of their two-day meeting in Washington that ended on Thursday.

The officials from the G20 advanced and emerging economies did not create a joint statement or a chair’s summary as they remained divided over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The failure highlights the increasing difficulty of adjusting interests among G20 economies as some members including China keep distance from advanced nations.

The G20 financial officials failed to adopt a joint statement, which requires unanimous agreement in principle, for the fifth straight meeting, after Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine began in February 2022.

The absence of a chair’s summary was the first since their meeting in April that year. Such a document can be compiled at the discretion of the country holding the rotating G20 presidency.

In the year-before meeting, attendees including those from the United States and Britain walked out when Russian officials spoke.

From Japan, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and new Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda attended the latest G20 meeting.

Suzuki told a press conference after the meeting that India, which chaired the talks, had no plan to adopt a joint statement in the first place, adding that it is not a purpose of a G20 meeting to release an outcome document.

Participants in the latest talks discussed the global economic slowdown following U.S. and European interest rate hikes and the financial turmoil that has emerged from the West. Other issues included worsening debt problems in low- and middle-income countries.

According to Suzuki, he warned his G20 partners “to be more cautious in order to ensure financial system stability.” He also sought more discussions to strengthen the financial system further.

Ueda expressed his intention to maintain the BOJ’s current monetary policy and 2% inflation target in a series of international meetings in Washington, including the G20 and Group of Seven gatherings.

Asked whether he was able to deepen cooperation with other central bankers, Ueda told the press conference that he has made some results. He made his international debut as BOJ governor at the Washington meetings.