What’s on the agenda for G8/G20?

China
Prior to the G8, Prime Minister Harper will hold bilateral with President Hu from China on June 24th who is in Canada for a state visit. The visit will mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. Bilateral trade now stands at $50 Billion between the two countries. It is expected that PM Harper will raise the importance of China’s role in helping to bring stability and security to the Korean peninsula as one of the few nations that talks to North Korea and as a permanent member nation of the UN security council.

India
On June 27th, PM Harper will host bilateral with Indian PM Singh in Toronto. PM Harper will look to build upon agreements signed during last meeting in India which addressed economic partnership and energy cooperation.

Focus of the G8 for the government of Canada:
– focus on achieving 2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (halving extreme poverty levels, cutting the spread of HIV/AIDS)
– nuclear non-proliferation and continuing work achieved at non-proliferation treaty review conference in NYC and Nuclear Security Summit in DC. Focus specifically on keeping nuclear arms out of the hands of terrorists.
– Recognition that Iran and North Korea continue to pose threats to global security.
– International cooperation on fighting Latin American, Caribbean, West African and Asian transnational criminal networks.
– Muskoka Initiative on maternal, newborn and child health.
– Progress in Afghanistan, in Pakistan and in the Middle East on combatting terrorism and its link to organized crime and drug trafficking
– G8 leaders will join seven African leaders as well as the leaders of Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica in order to discuss the interlinkages of crime and terror networks.

G20 priorities for Canada:
– G20 should restore public finance while maintaining economic growth in order to achieve global economic recovery.
– Canada implores G20 nations to tackle fiscal consolidation, reduce debt, reduce deficits and for countries to return to balanced budgets
– address root causes of global economic crisis
– fully implement stimulus plans
– prepare fiscal consolidation measures
– resist protectionism
– promote open markets
– continue reforms to financial and regulatory systems
– continue governance reforms to international financial institutions and multilateral development banks
– call upon the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks

The Canadian media on Stephen Harper and the global bank tax

The Toronto Star (June 4):

Is the shine coming off Stephen Harper’s summit spotlight?

As with the economy, a host of other issues appear to have conspired to take the shine off Harper’s role at the upcoming summits in Huntsville and Toronto.

Despite trying for months to defuse the hot-button issue of a global bank tax, Harper still finds himself at odds with Obama, Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. …

Le Devoir (translated from June 5):

Harper returned empty handed from Europe

After London, Paris refused to waive a tax on banks

Paris – If the objective of the whirlwind trip that Stephen Harper was finished yesterday in Europe to persuade London and Paris to abandon their proposed tax on banks, it now appears as a failure. Like his British counterpart had done the day before, the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, said yesterday that France had no intention of abandoning its intention to tax the banking business in order to establish a fund for emergencies. …

Back from 48h to London and Paris, Harper is so isolated on this crucial issue because the proposed tax on banks is supported by both the European Union, the United States and the International Monetary Fund. The project is also likely to take shape fairly quickly in Europe.

So about that failure of the PM to fend off a global bank tax?

Canwest and Reuters (June 5th):

Finance ministers scrap plans for global bank tax

In the face of fierce opposition from Canada and several other countries, finance ministers from the Group of 20 have axed plans for a global bank tax
, giving individual nations more freedom to decide how to make banks pay for any future bailouts.
The ministers ended a two-day meeting in Busan, South Korea, on Saturday that was held to review progress on a string of initiatives aimed at making the financial system safer in the wake of the last year’s global collapse.

A bank tax, a measure pushed for by the United States, Britain and France, would have imposed a levy on all global financial institutions. All three countries spent billions of taxpayer dollars to rescue their largest financial institutions after the fiscal crisis of late 2008.