TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: President Obama leaves for London today ahead of a big economic summit later in the week. The group of 20 meeting really includes heads of state from more than 20 countries, trying to get a handle on the global fallout.
Our man in London, Stephen Beard, joins us right now. Stephen, it seems like we keep hearing about what won’t be coming out of Thursday’s meeting.
Stephen Beard: Well, as you say, it’s easier to say what is not going to come out of it. I mean, we’re not going to get what President Obama was initially pushing for: a big increase in stimulus packages in other countries. There’s just simply too much disagreement over that — the Germans, the French, the Chinese say no, we’re already in the process of pumping a lot more money into our economies, let’s wait and see what happens.
Chiotakis: Obviously, Stephen, they’re gathering there for a purpose. What, why are they getting together?
Beard: They’ve come to have tea with the queen, I think is the answer. No, clearly, there is a purpose, and some material things will emerge it seems from the summit. It looks as if there’s going to be an agreement to increase funding for the International Monetary Fund. There’ll no doubt also be a solemn commitment to free trade and a pledge to, not to revert to protectionism. And also a broad statement of principles about how to better regulate financial markets. But on the regulatory front, nothing very dramatic it seems.
Chiotakis: So given the big business environment today, why doesn’t there seem to be this big consensus on regulation?
Beard: Well, I think all the participating leaders agree that we’ve just lived through a major regulatory failure, but there are just too many disagreements about how to tackle this internationally. In fact, today we have the story that French President Nicholas Sarkozy is threatening to walk out of the summit unless he gets an agreement to set up a global financial regulator. Now, that’s not gonna happen, cause the U.S. opposes it, so do the Brits. There is, however, agreement on one issue, and it, we’re told that at this summit, a deal will be unveiled with 10 tax havens — including Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco and Andorra — to share a lot more information with the tax authorities of the rest of the G-20 group. So it does seem there is one issue around which they all agree. After all, they all need to raise a lot more tax with all these stimulus packages, they would all love to see these tax havens go out of business.
Chiotakis: Mmm. Our European correspondent, Stephen Beard, joining us from London. Stephen, thank you.
Beard: OK, Steve.
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