G20 Summits – Do the participant countries honour their commitments?

Since the G20 was upgraded in 2008 from a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors to one of Presidents and Prime Ministers the G20 Research Group has monitored the “performance” of the 20 countries and organisations over the 12 months following each Summit to determine whether the participant countries have honoured the commitments that were set out in the official communiqué. 

The Hamburg Summit in July 2017 was rather early in the year so in 2018 the G20 Research Group produced an interim report after 12 months and then a full report, for a 16 month period, which was published at the time of the 30 November 1 December 2018 G20 summit which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The two tax related objectives scored highest in terms of achievement. The tax objectives were “for a globally fair and modern international tax system” and “the implementation of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan”.

The first tax paragraph of the 2018 communiqué states:

“We will continue our work for a globally fair, sustainable, and modern international tax system based, in particular on tax treaties and transfer pricing rules, and welcome international cooperation to advance pro-growth tax policies. Worldwide implementation of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting package remains essential.”

There were also commitments in the 2018 communiqué to deal with the digitalisation of the economy and put in place measures to deal with countries which do not put in place appropriate tax transparency measures.

In all the G20 Research Group evaluated 17 objectives and the European Union and Canada came out top with three countries just behind in joint third place: UK, France and Indonesia.

The analysis is carried out by the G20 Research Group based at the University of Toronto and the Centre for International Institutes Research in Moscow. Their work is reviewed by a large number of volunteers to determine whether the analysis is reasonable. Ian Young is one of those volunteers.

The website carries a comment made by David Cameron at the time of the 2012 G20 Summit:

“The University of Toronto … produced a detailed analysis to the extent of which each G20

country has met its commitments since the last summit … I think this is important; we come to these summits, we make these commitments, we say we are going to do these things and it is important that there is an organisation that checks up on who has done what.”

You can read the interim compliance report and the, 659 page, full report