Brazil's President says G-8 no longer relevant

Other News Materials 16 November 2008 01:37 (UTC +04:00)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Saturday the G-8 is no longer relevant in today's globalized world and that the role of developing international financial regulations must fall to the so-called Group of 20, AP reported.

"We are talking about the G-20 because the G-8 doesn't have any more reason to exist, in other words, the emerging economies have to be taken into consideration in today's globalized world," Silva said as he left to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush and other world leaders united here to discuss the global financial meltdown.

The G-8 comprises the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia, while the G-20 is comprised of industrialized and developing countries ranging from China to Brazil. Together the G-20 countries account for roughly 90 percent of the global gross domestic product.

Brazil currently holds the rotating leadership of the G-20 which next year will shift to Britain and then to South Korea the following year.

"The existing multilateral organizations and the international rules in place were rejected by history. Both the IMF and the World Bank should open themselves to bigger participation of developing economies," Silva told the leaders gathered at the summit. "This means more of a voice, representation and a vote for developing countries."

Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega said, following the meeting, that Brazil was pleased to have achieved many of its stated goals going into the summit.

"We have reached our goal of establishing the G-20 at the presidential level," Mantega said, explaining that before the meetings were on the ministerial level. "The crisis makes somethings viable that weren't possible before."

He said among those things were more uniform global financial regulation and the transformation of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Financial Stability Fund.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said he believed that while the G-20 had effectively replaced the G-8, if not officially, the international gatherings could take other forms transforming into a G-14 or some other configuration.

He said the final communique the leaders would likely approve, "practically consolidates the process of the G-20, I think this might be most important, as a decision making body."

Amorim was to meet later in the evening with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright who is representing President-elect Barack Obama at the meeting. Silva was to fly home following a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Silva, a former metalworker who rose to become Brazil's first working class president, has presided over a period of tremendous growth and economic prosperity in Latin America's largest country since taking office in 2003.

He has also fought to get Brazil a greater role in the international stage, trying to gain the country a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and taking the lead in organizing developing nations at talks under the World Trade Organization.

On Saturday, he called for a fairer regulation of the world economy.

"My whole life when I was a metal worker, for me to buy a TV I had to work another 40-60 hours month, nearly killing myself. Today someone can become a billionaire without producing a single piece of paper, a single job, without producing a single salary for this we need serious regulation of coming from the G-20," Silva said.

He also said the onus of resolving the economic crisis fellow to the richer nations.

"The best solution for the crisis not to spread is that rich countries resolve their problems. For the first time the problems aren't in the poor country's they in the rich countries," he said. "It doesn't help to look for palliative measures if you don't resolve chronic problems of the economic policy of America and economic policy of the EU."

Brazilians and other Latin American nations have complained that after years of following the policy prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund and other international lending organizations they are now suffering because many powerful countries did not heed their own advice.

"There was plenty of advice from supposed specialists, to poor, developing countries," Silva said speaking at the summit. "What was lacking was advice for rich countries, about the signs of financial mayhem that had been accumulating over time."