Remarks by Angel Gurría
Ankara, 5 September 2015
(As prepared for delivery)
Ministers, Central Bank Governors,
The G20 commitment to raise GDP by 2% in 2018 through structural reform commitments was a masterstroke - this promised concrete measures to raise living standards and put the recovery on a higher growth path.
Implementation is now key and has rightly been a priority under the Turkish Presidency.
The OECD’s assessment, together with Fund and World Bank colleagues, is that one-third of structural reform measures have been fully implemented.
This shows progress. But, almost a year has passed since Brisbane and less than half of commitments are fully implemented.
We are concerned that the G-20’s objective of “full and timely” implementation is at risk. The longer countries wait to implement their commitments, the longer it will take to achieve the benefits.
At the same time, with the underperforming economy, the G20 is falling further behind its goal.
The main priority in the coming months should be to speed up implementation of the existing commitments. It is a vital test of the G-20’s credibility.
When we met in September last year, the estimated impact of the national growth strategies was still well short of the “2 in 5” objective. You resolved to “double down” and do more to reach the 2% target by the Leaders’ Summit, and your effort was successful.
We need to do the same thing this year with implementation!
The OECD is ready to continue to help you with implementation of structural reforms.
Important as they are, the structural commitments in the Brisbane growth strategies should not be seen as the end of story. Efforts to boost productivity, jobs, investment and trade should be an on-going process.
The Adjusted Growth Strategies include many welcome measures, but overall lack the ambition needed to propel the recovery. Reform momentum appears to be slowing from Brisbane. Looking beyond the Growth Strategies, we know that some countries have made decisions that appear counter-productive for growth, particularly in the trade area.
The new focus on inequality in the Adjusted Growth Strategies is an important step. The OECD’s assessment of the Brisbane Key Commitments showed that many reduced inequality with only a small number increasing income dispersion.
However, it is not enough for policies to boost growth to be inequality-friendly. We need growth-friendly policies to tackle the rising inequality in so many G-20 economies!
Here again, the Adjusted Growth Strategies make a start but it is nowhere near enough to tackle the challenges we face. I know how much Finance Ministers care about who is impacted by their decisions. It’s time to raise the level of ambition in the G20 to achieve more inclusive growth.
We need to step up the focus on implementing and advancing policy reforms that will boost inclusive growth. Keeping up these efforts will help to ensure we meet our collective growth ambition and avoid a low growth trap.