Monday, June 1, 2009
University of Pittsburgh economics professor James Cassing says one of the most important aspects of a G20 meeting is to allow the heads of state to publicly announce agreements that have been made in private meetings leading up to the gathering. He says with the economic downturn, it is also important for the world to see that the leaders of the world’s richest nations are on the same page when it comes to righting the world economy. He says it is “confidence building.” The “G” groups began with the G-7 and have expanded to included 19 countries and the European Union. Cassing says that expansion was important because it brought in some of the world’s largest developing economies including China and India. G20 meetings have attracted protests in the past. Cassing says anytime heads of state gather there will be protests but he understands why this group would attract even more. He says many people believe it is these leaders that have caused the problems the world economy is facing and they should not be trusted to fix the same problems. Cassing believes that among the topics to be discussed in September will be funding the G20’s commitment to the international monetary fund (IMF), the operations of the World Bank and the stalemate at the Doha Development Round. The Doha Round is aimed at lowering international trade barriers including tariffs. It has stalled with the US, Japan and the EU digging in on one side and India, Brazil, China and South Africa on the other side. Cassing agrees that this will raise the international profile of Pittsburgh. He says the event will make headlines around the world and with that many reporters in town there is bound to be coverage of issues outside of the event itself.