Group of Twenty
The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (also known as the "G-20") is an international forum that promotes discussion and offers policy suggestions among 20 major countries on key issues related to global economic stability. Its recommendations are not binding.
The inaugural meeting of the G-20 took place in Berlin, on 15-16 December, 1999, hosted by the German and Canadian finance ministers. It was created in response to the financial crises which occurred towards the end of the 1990s. In addition, it offered a platform for the largest emerging-market economies, which had previously been excluded from forums such as the Group of Eight G-8.
The G-20 announced in Sept. 2009 that it will become the permanent council for international economic cooperation, eclipsing the Group of Eight.
World economic reform mapped
The G-20 in 2009 agreed to a far-reaching effort to revamp the economic system and impose much tighter regulation over financial institutions, complex financial instruments and executive pay. The new policies, if implemented, could lead to major changes and more outside scrutiny over the economic strategies of individual countries, including the United States.
One goal is to reduce the immense trade imbalances between export-dominated countries like China and Japan and debt-laden countries like the United States, which has long been the world’s most willing consumer.
The United States will be expected to increase its savings rate, reduce its trade deficit and address its huge budget deficit. Countries like China, Japan and Germany will be expected to reduce their dependence on exports by promoting more consumer spending and investment at home.
The G-20 comprises the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of 19 countries, as well as the European Union, which is represented by whichever country holds the rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank.
In addition, meetings are attended, on an ex-officio basis, by the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the President of the World Bank, as well as the chairs of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee of the IMF and World Bank.
There have also been two heads-of-government meetings of the G-20, in November 2008 and April 2009.
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the European Union.