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Analysis of performance against purpose: securing the benefits of global economic integration

The Treasury has supported and strengthened economic policy relationships across a broad range of multilateral organisations and countries, consistent with the Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper, released in 2017. The relationships built and information gathered are used to balance opportunities and risks in relation to trade and investment flows, and to maintain our position of influence for the benefit of Australians. The Treasury’s program of international engagement has contributed to capacity in Australia’s region, the depth and breadth of information available to government and policy makers, and regional and global macroeconomic stability.

The Treasury monitors the global economic environment closely. It works with other countries bilaterally, in international forums, and through international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, to monitor economic trends and manage risks as they emerge. It advises the Government on conditions such as commodity prices, inflation, monetary and fiscal policy trends, the global financial safety net, financial market resilience, economic transitions and demographic challenges, and assesses how changes may affect the domestic economy. The Treasury continues to advise on the trade policy announcements of major economies and the potential impacts on the global trading environment and the Australian economy. The Treasury is working with other government agencies to promote the importance of economic openness domestically and in international forums, as well as identify economic benefits from further trade liberalisation. In progressing Australia’s economic interests in the international arena, we seek solutions that make sense for Australia and for the broader global economy.

The Treasury manages Australia’s bilateral and multilateral economic relationships through its relationships with other countries, connections in multilateral forums such as the G20 and Asia‑Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, its relationships with the international financial institutions, strong links with the academic and think tank community and international staff postings in key economies providing reporting that is an essential input into our advice to the Government.

Through the Treasury’s efforts, the Government has been well positioned to advance Australia’s economic interests in the G20. With Australia’s support, the G20 has prioritised boosting global growth, ensuring a safe and efficient global financial system, and supporting the integrity of the international tax system. Australia holds a position of influence in all of these streams of work, and they all carry benefits for Australia domestically as well as in the global economy. The Treasury (together with the Reserve Bank of Australia) represents Australia on the G20 Framework Working Group which focuses on ways to deliver strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth. The Treasury also contributed to the improvement of the global infrastructure investment climate through its co-chairing of the G20 Infrastructure Working Group and support for the Global Infrastructure Hub.

The Treasury has actively engaged in the Asia­-Pacific region, working to bring alignment between the G20 and APEC agendas, providing policy support to Indonesia and support to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in hosting APEC in 2018, actively engaging in the Pacific Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting in Palau, and supporting an exchange of Treasury officers with PNG. The Treasury participated in policy dialogues with the European Commission, India, Indonesia and Japan.

The Treasury engages closely with the international financial institutions to ensure they are effective in supporting growth, stability and economic development as key elements of the international financial architecture. The Treasury (together with the Reserve Bank of Australia) represents Australia on the G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group which has focused on constructive engagement with the international financial institutions in areas relating to: capital flow stability; debt transparency for both lenders and debtors; progressing the IMF 15th General Review of Quotas, prospects for governance reform (through the G20 Eminent Persons Group); and greater cooperation between regional financial architecture arrangements and the international financial institutions. The Treasury has supported Australia’s full engagement at the Spring and Annual meetings, and supported our Executive Directors and Alternate Executive Directors, enabling them to influence key policy issues within the institutions. The Treasury successfully pressed the importance of better use of capital with the Multilateral Development Banks, and supported the G20 in prioritising these actions. The Treasury has had a major role in shaping the policies of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Through Australia’s engagement with the AIIB, the Treasury has worked to strengthen China’s growing engagement with multilateralism.