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Finance Ministers' Meetings

Conclusions of the Joint Meeting of G8 Foreign and Finance Ministers

9 May 1998

1. We, the Foreign and Finance Ministers of the G8 and representatives of the European Commission, met in London on 9 May. We discussed a range of issues, some in preparation for the G8 Birmingham Summit next week. The Managing Director of the IMF, the President of the World Bank and the Director General of the WTO joined us for our discussion of recent developments in Asia and their wider implications. The outcome of our discussion will be reported to our Heads of State or Government meeting in Birmingham in preparation for discussion of this issue.

Development

2. We discussed practical steps to implement a genuine partnership with developing countries as set out at the Lyon and Denver Summits and in the OECD's 21st Century Strategy adopted in 1996, and building on the landmark UN Summits of the past decade and our work bilaterally and with the multilateral development institutions, to achieve measurable short and long term results on development goals. We are grateful to our officials for reporting on the follow up to Denver. We welcome the progress made.

3. The goal of this partnership must be to stimulate growth in a way that contributes to sustainable development and reduction of poverty. It requires action by all partners, by governments and civil society, and by the private sector. We recognised the importance of action to integrate economies better into the global economy, and the critical role of flows of private capital and trade flows and the policy reforms required in those countries to attract them. We also recognised the importance of official support for developing countries which are seeking to tackle deep-seated social and economic problems.

4. In relation to official support, we gave particular emphasis to:

5. We stressed the importance of more developing countries making the necessary reforms to attract flows of foreign direct investment and to mobilise additional domestic resources. To this end we agreed to:

6. We called specifically on the international financial institutions to:

7. We emphasised the value of regional integration among developing countries that wish to pursue it, particularly in Africa, where many countries suffer from small and fragmented markets and poor transport facilities. We remain ready to support this process with technical assistance. We also urge the international financial institutions to develop more effective support and new instruments for regionally based initiatives.

8. We recognise the particular trade problems of the least developed countries. We stress the importance of effective implementation of the WTO plan of action for the least developed countries, including programmes of integrated technical assistance. We will keep progress under review at the WTO Ministerial.

9. We will also support efforts of all developing countries, particularly those being made in Africa, to promote good governance and participatory development and to fight corruption, including through the development of operational codes, as well as to create regional groupings to combat money laundering.

Electronic Commerce

10. Information and communication technologies offer all countries - industrialised, emerging and developing - the opportunity to revolutionise their quality of life and economic wellbeing. The potential impact of electronic commerce on global growth and employment is profound. Huge advances have already been made. Electronic markets link traders around the world and many jobs are dependent on the internet worldwide. We will work with the international institutions and the private sector to offer the best opportunities for the future: a predictable and stable environment and a seamless, decentralised global market place where competition and consumer choice drive economic activity. In particular, we welcome the work of the WTO, OECD, other appropriate international fora and the private sector, and encourage:

11. We look forward to progress at the Ottawa OECD Ministerial Conference in October and in other international fora. A framework on taxation is a priority. We have asked officials to report back next year.


Source: Released at the Joint Meeting of the Finance and Foreign Ministers, London, England, May 9, 1998


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