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June 28, 2017

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G-20 aims to lift growth through more investment

SYDNEY--The world's top economies vowed Sunday to rev up world growth by boosting investment and increasing employment, while agreeing to more transparency about monetary policies after rifts over the U.S. taper.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the G-20, which accounts for 85 percent of the world economy, also expressed "deep regret" that reforms to the International Monetary Fund have stalled with the United States yet to ratify them.

After their meeting in Sydney, they issued what host Australia called "an unprecedented" and unusually brief two-page statement to drive "a return to strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the global economy."

"We will develop ambitious but realistic policies with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than two percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years," they said in reference to two percentage points.

"This is over US$2.0 trillion more in real terms and will lead to significant additional jobs."

The IMF has said the strategy could add half a percentage point to global growth annually over four years starting next year.

The fund currently projects growth of 3.7 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2015, with each G-20 country to hammer out the finer points before the leaders' summit in Brisbane in November.

"We believe that if the reforms that have been identified are adhered to, delivered by the various authorities, then that is a goal that can be achieved or possibly exceeded," said IMF chief Christine Lagarde, adding that meetings were held in an "excellent spirit."

Ministers said the figure could be reached by increasing investment and employment and enhancing trade, adding that there was "no room for complacency" and that addressing the challenges "requires ambition."

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, the G-20 chair, had been pushing ministers to agree to faster global growth targets with private-sector investment as a central plank.

He stressed the need for structural reforms to drive growth.

'Deep regret'

"We know reform is hard. We have to earn economic growth and new jobs," he said after the meeting ended.

"It will take concrete actions across the G-20 to boost investment, trade, competition and employment opportunities, as well as getting our macroeconomic fundamentals right."

The fallout being felt by some emerging economies as the U.S. Federal Reserve winds back its mammoth stimulus program was another lightning-rod issue in Sydney.

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