The G20 and international economic cooperation
In 1975 the President of France convened a meeting of the leaders of six major industrial countries in Rambouillet in France. In addition to the host country, the participating countries were Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. A year later, Canada joined the group which became known as the Group of 7 or G7. From the beginning, the G7 held annual leaders’ meetings. This year’s meeting will be held in the US in May. Russia was invited to be present for a part of the meetings from 1994 and became a full participant from 1998. Henceforth, the group became known as the G8. Matters of economics and finance figured prominently on the agenda of the G8. In the latter half of the 1980s, the G8 finance ministers and central bank governors began to meet on a regular basis to discuss global economic trends and economic policies. Larger groups including the G8 and emerging market countries were temporarily established in the late 1990s, the Group of 22 in 1997 and subsequently the Group of 33 in early 1999. Finally, the G20 was formed at the end of that year, reflecting a response to the financial crisis affecting many emerging market economies in the late 1990s. It has become a principal venue for discussions on topics relating to economics and finance. It goes without saying that the expansion of the G8 from including only major industrial countries to the G20 which also encompasses emerging market countries delivered a considerably more representative group than the G8, even if it still excludes the majority of the countries of the world.
- Ingimundur Fridriksson
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