Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The G8 summit: A chronicle of wasted time
By M K Bhadrakumar

With less than 10 days before the Group of Eight (G8) summit meeting at St Petersburg, the United States has quietly yanked the carpet out from under the prestigious forum.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced last week a list of countries that will initiate consultations to "produce a common vision for action, with balanced contributions and collective benefits, to address vulnerabilities that affect ... the international financial system". The list of countries is headed by the US, of course, and includes China, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Washington has implied that the G8 [1] is not necessarily the lead forum for exercising "multilateral surveillance" when it comes to dealing with the issues and imbalances of the world economy. The list of invitees to the IMF high-level talks on global financial imbalances is a virtual "who's who" of countries that Washington considers relevant to addressing pressing issues of financial imbalances in the world economy. And the list excludes Russia, the host of the G8 summit on July 15.

Curiously, the development came on the eve of Russia making the ruble a fully convertible currency effective July 1, joining a select group of 20 countries (including the US, Canada, Japan, the eurozone and Scandinavian countries, Britain, Australia and New Zealand) that do not put restrictions on currency control and regulation.

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