| SYDNEY, July 16
SYDNEY, July 16 International business leaders
are lobbying the Group of 20 bloc of advanced and developing
countries to tackle a $57 trillion shortfall in global
infrastructure, pressing for changes to funding rules they say
would help big projects move ahead.
This week's Sydney summit of the Business 20 group will push
for lighter financial regulation and improved access to capital
for businesses as it sets out a corporate blueprint for the
world's top economies to meet ambitious growth targets.
G20 finance ministers agreed in Sydney in February to draw
up "real and effective plans to lift the global economy" by more
than 2 percent "above the trajectory implied by current
policies" over five years. They meet again in Australia in
"We think that's one of the most important decisions made at
G20 meetings in the last few years," B20 Chairman Richard
Goyder, chief executive of Wesfarmers, told reporters
ahead of the business leaders' gathering.
Tackling the infrastructure deficit is one of four areas the
B20 says is critical to meet this goal, alongside financing
growth, slashing unemployment and boosting investment and trade.
The B20 was set up in 2010 to give policy recommendations on
behalf of the international business community to the G20.
It has estimated that at least $57 trillion will be needed
to finance infrastructure projects worldwide through 2030 to
meet the demands of global economic growth.
Blocking that funding, it argues, are cumbersome global
rules that make it hard for large pension funds and insurance
companies to invest in major infrastructure projects.
"The capital is available for investment," said Goyder.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has criticised progress
towards the 2 percent goal as too slow. "Some countries like
China and increasingly Germany have been very supportive of our
goals, but there's more to be done," he told ABC radio.
Australia is the host of this year's G20 meetings, a fact
that B20 sherpa Robert Milliner said gave credibility to the
talks, noting Australia's record two decades of unbroken growth.
One issue that won't be on the table at the B20 talks is
corporate "profit shifting", which costs governments up to $3
trillion a year, according to researchers from Tax Justice
G20 finance ministers agreed in February to develop stricter
rules on cross-border taxation to close loopholes that have
allowed multinationals such as Starbucks Corp, Google
Inc, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc to
avoid paying taxes.
Finance ministers endorsed a set of common standards for
sharing bank account information across borders with automatic
exchange of information among G20 members to take effect by the
end of 2015.
Goyder said the B20 as a group endorsed a system under which
taxes are levied where the profits are made, but he expressed
scepticism that the G20 would be able to agree on a policy
palatable to all countries.
"We'll leave it to governments to sort out," he said.
(Editing by Alan Raybould)