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G20 sticks to Washington promises

Nations around the world are sticking to the promises they made at the G20 financial crisis summit in November, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.

Russia's G8 deputy sherpa said on Wednesday that some G20 countries were seeking a relaxation of the commitments that were made in Washington to tackle the global financial crisis and economic downturn.

“What we are seeing and what we'll see in the weeks and months ahead is an increased determination across the world to take action to deal with what the IMF yesterday called a global economic slump,” the British spokesman told reporters when asked about the Russian official's comments.

“"I think we will see increased cooperation going forward and I think we are seeing that with the announcements from Canada recently and the action that's being taken in the United States and the action that's being taken in Germany.”

“You are seeing a very clear implementation of the actions that were agreed to at the Washington summit.”

The pledges made by the G20 group of leading developed and developing nations in November included using fiscal stimulus measures to support demand, monetary policy action where needed and an overhaul of the supervision of financial markets.

The group also committed to give emerging economies more of a say in global decision-making, to boost the International Monetary Fund's capacity to help struggling nations and to push for a breakthrough in stalled world trade talks.

While several nations - including the United States, Germany and Britain - have announced supportive fiscal measures, there has been little movement so far on trade or the reform of global institutions.

Brown this week warned against a rise in protectionism as a response to a deteriorating global economic outlook. Russia introduced levies on used foreign car imports this year and the European Union has moved to subsidize its dairy exports.

“There is discussion over how feasible it is for all the countries to fulfill the Washington obligations,” Russia's G8 deputy sherpa Andrei Bokarev told reporters on Wednesday.

Britain hosts the follow-up to the Washington summit in April, with pressure growing on global leaders to take further action to avoid a prolonged global downturn. (Reuters)