Monthly Archives: April 2009

Details are emerging of a deal on tax havens. The G20 has agreed that the OECD will publish a list imminently, which will have three categories.

The first will be for those territories that have already concluded their tax information sharing agreements (this includes Jersey and some other UK dependencies. Read more

Looks like Gordon Brown is going to revert to an old political trick as he pulls together a deal to save the world. There has been some movement on a number of fronts. The IMF will have its funding tripled to $750bn, or more; at least $100bn of trade finance; a big increase in special drawing rights, the IMF’s own currency, or significantly in excess of $40bn. On top of that we should see some new language on fiscal stimulus, although some officials are still doubtful that it will have any more meaning.

What is the Brown trick? Add up all the measures. The prime minister has always been a fan of big, round numbers. My rough calculation is that the international finance pledges and the existing levels of fiscal stimulus ($2,000bn?) would add up to something approaching $3,000bn. That will depend on whether “significant” progress is made on the IMF funding and SDR front, which seems very likely. Cue the biggest financial stimulus the world has ever seen. Read more

This is my first dispatch from the G20 media hangar, which has so far proved to be full of journalists and free of information. But Britain’s intrepid press pack have succeeded in digging up one important story: the “minty green” colour of the “lounge area”. We’re told that the world’s leaders will be plotting the course for economic recovery from a modern, functional, informal “break out zone”. There are comfortable chairs and tables, but “no bean bags”, according to one well informed source. Leaders left breakfast a short while ago (the menu remains top secret) and are now “milling around”, chewing the fat and bargaining over the world’s future. Here’s to hoping the coffee is better than it is in the press area.

Gordon Brown now wants us to judge the G20 against “five tests”. If there is any common theme to his new yardstick for success, it is that the tests are almost impossible to measure or oppose. Who would be against restoring growth in emerging market economies? Or support a dirty banking system that escaped a regulatory “clean up”?

All this is noticeably different in tone from Brown’s rhetoric a couple of months ago. British officials have always been sheepish about setting precise goals or discussing the type of trade-offs that would be required. So you can imagine how they felt as their prime minister did some serious, and very public, stargazing. Read more

It is not quite the “empty chair”, but Nicolas Sarkozy is making very clear that he is unhappy with Gordon Brown’s grand plan. Will the G20 meeting survive the Sarko huff? Read more