G20 finance chiefs meet as Indonesia warns of energy and food catastrophe

A group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers from major economies gathered in Indonesia on Friday for talks on the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the host warning them that failure to deal with the energy and food crises would be catastrophic.

The two-day meeting on the resort island of Bali began in the shadow of a war that has rocked markets, driven up food prices and fueled sky-high inflation, a week after the top diplomat Muscovite left the talks with the forum’s foreign ministers, AFP reported.

In her opening address, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati called on ministers to work together in a spirit of “cooperation, collaboration and consensus” because “the world is waiting” for solutions.

“The cost of our failure is more than we can afford,” she told delegates. “The humanitarian consequences for the world and for many low-income countries would be catastrophic.”

Leading figures in global finance, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, will discuss the rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. But the impact of the war in Ukraine – which is weighing on an already fragile global recovery – will be high on the agenda.

A day before the meeting, Yellen set the tone, calling Russia’s war in Ukraine “the biggest challenge” to the global economy and saying that members of Putin’s government “have no place” in the talks.

“We are seeing negative fallout from this war in all corners of the world, especially in terms of rising energy prices and rising food insecurity,” she said.

Yellen is expected to lobby G20 allies for a cap on Russian oil prices to choke off President Vladimir Putin’s war chest and pressure Moscow to end its invasion while cutting oil costs. ‘energy.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko participate in the meeting virtually.

In April, Yellen led a multinational strike by finance officials as Russian delegates addressed a G20 meeting in Washington. No press release was published following this meeting.

It is unclear whether a similar walkout will take place at this meeting, after no foreign minister stepped down last week, but Yellen would not be drawn in if they repeated their joint action.

A final statement is also unlikely to be issued at the end of the talks on Saturday due to disagreements with Russia.

– Deadline for global tax overhaul set –

Indonesia, chair of the G20 – which pursues a neutral foreign policy – has refrained from disinviting Russia despite Western pressure.

The Italian and Canadian finance ministers are present, but Chinese finance minister Liu Kun and the new British finance minister Nadhim Zahawi are only present virtually.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, will appear in person after saying on Wednesday that the global economic outlook had “darkened considerably” due to the invasion of Moscow.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will attend virtually, but World Bank Managing Director David Malpass will not attend.

The meeting is a prelude to the leaders’ summit on the Indonesian island in November, which was expected to focus on global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other issues to be addressed by ministers include digital financial inclusion – with more than a billion of the world’s population still without access to a bank account – and the deadline for an overhaul of international tax rules.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will update ministers on the status of international tax changes that will set a minimum global corporate tax rate of 15% by 2024, a year later than originally planned.

The deadline for passing the legislation that underpins the new rules has been set for mid-2023, the OECD said.