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June 24, 2017

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G-20 urged to reform and boost global growth by US$3.4 tril.

SYDNEY--Business leaders in Australia Friday called on G-20 leading economies to implement recommendations on structural reforms and free trade that could boost global growth by US$3.4 trillion and create millions of jobs.

The business chiefs, who are in Sydney for a two-day B-20 summit, said their list of 20 recommendations — if adopted by G-20 leaders — would help them exceed the 2.0 percent additional GDP target over five years that finance ministers agreed to in February.

"What we are recommending is mostly new structural reform measures that would deliver on the G-20 growth target and form a blueprint for sustainable economic growth in the medium-term," B-20 Australia chair Richard Goyder said.

"If G-20 countries commit to these reforms, the gains will be large, but a failure by any of the G-20 countries to commit will mean a significant opportunity cost."

The recommendations call for the free flow of goods, services, labour and capital, an effective and transparent regulatory framework, as well as structural reforms that would boost trade and lift infrastructure investment.

Moves toward freer trade could boost global GDP by US$3.4 trillion and support more than 50 million jobs across the G-20 nati-20 said.

At the same time, increasing investments in infrastructure to fill an estimated gap of between US$15-20 trillion by 2030 could unlock US$6 trillion in economic activity every year and create up to 100 million jobs, the business leaders said.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey welcomed the recommendations, saying they supported the G-20's goal under Australia's presidency this year of driving growth and jobs creation.

"These 20 recommendations fit in nicely with our overarching goal," Hockey said.

"The G-20 is very focused on how to drive growth and jobs creation, best utilizing all of the resources and skills available in the private sector.

"In some countries, this is a change of ideology, but necessity has changed attitudes."

The senior leaders of some of the world's most high-profile companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell, General Electric and BHP Billiton, also called on G-20 governments to tackle fraud and bribery through measures such as introducing or strengthening national independent corruption authorities.

"All of our objectives of long-term sustainable and inclusive growth will be undermined if the level of existing global corruption is allowed to continue," said Michael Andrew, chair of the B-20's anti-corruption working group.

"It's estimated by the World Bank that corruption constitutes 5.0 percent of global GDP. That would make it the third-largest industry in the world."

Infrastructure Global Hub

Hockey said earlier on Friday that he was pushing for a G-20 "infrastructure global hub" to support projects as government coffers dry up.

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