Toronto Economic Summit Conference Economic Declaration

 

June 21, 1988

 

1. We, the Heads of State or Government of seven major industrial nations and the President of the Commission of the European Communities, have met in Toronto for the fourteenth annual Economic Summit. We have drawn lessons from the past and looked ahead to the future.

 

2. Over the past fourteen years, the world economy and economic policy have undergone profound changes. In particular, the information-technology revolution and the globalization of markets have increased economic interdependence, making it essential that governments consider fully the international dimensions of their deliberations.

 

3. We observed a sharp contrast between the 1970s and 1980s. The former was a decade of high and rising inflation, declining productivity growth, policies dominated by short-term considerations, and frequently inadequate international policy cooperation. In the 1980s inflation has been brought under control, laying the basis for sustained strong growth and improved productivity. The result has been the longest period of economic growth in post-war history. However, the 1980s have seen the emergence of large external imbalances in the major industrial economies, greater exchange rate volatility, and debt-servicing difficulties in a number of developing countries. Our response to these developments has been an increased commitment to international cooperation, resulting in the intensified process of policy coordination adopted at the 1986 Tokyo Summit and further strengthened at the Venice Summit and in the Group of Seven.

 

4. Summits have proven an effective forum to address the issues facing the world economy, promote new ideas and develop a common sense of purpose. Especially in the 1980s they have helped bring about an increasing recognition that the eradication of inflation and of inflationary expectations is fundamental to sustained growth and job creation. That recognition has been underpinned by a shift from short-term considerations to a medium-term framework for the development and implementation of economic policies, and a commitment to improve efficiency and adaptability through greater reliance on competitive forces and structural reform. Over this period we have also singled out for concerted attention a number of other issues of decisive importance: the overriding need to resist protectionism and strengthen the open, multilateral trading system; to maintain and strengthen an effective strategy to address the challenge of development and alleviate the burden of debt; and to deal with the serious nature of the world agricultural problem.

 

5. Since we last met, our economies have kept up the momentum of growth. Employment has continued to expand generally, inflation has been restrained, and progress has been made toward the correction of major external imbalances. These encouraging developments are cause for optimism, but not for complacency. To sustain non-inflationary growth will require a commitment to enhanced cooperation. This is the key to credibility and confidence.

 

International Economic Policy Cooperation

 

Macroeconomic Policies and Exchange Rates

 

6. The Tokyo and Venice Summits have developed and strengthened the process of coordination of our economic policies. Developments in the wake of the financial strains last October demonstrate the effectiveness and resilience of the arrangements that have emerged. The policies, the short-term prospects, and the medium-term objectives and projections of our economies are being discussed regularly in the Group of Seven. The policies and performance are assessed on the basis of economic indicators. We welcome the progress made in refining the analytical use of indicators, as well as the addition to the existing indicators of a commodity-price indicator. The progress in coordination is contributing to the process of further improving the functioning of the international monetary system.

 

7. Fiscal, monetary and structural policies have been undertaken to foster the adjustment to more sustainable economic and financial positions in the context of non-inflationary growth. Efforts in those directions, including continued reduction of budgetary deficits, will continue. We need to maintain vigilance against any resurgence of inflation. We reaffirm our determination to follow and, wherever feasible, strengthen our agreed strategy of coordinated efforts to reduce the growth of spending in countries with large external deficits and to sustain the momentum of domestic demand in those with large external surpluses. The reduction of large external imbalances, however, will require not only our cooperative efforts, but also those of smaller economies, including newly industrializing economies, with large external surpluses.

 

8. The exchange rate changes in the past three years, especially the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen and the major European currencies, have played a major role in the adjustment of real trade balances. We endorse the Group of Seven's conclusion that either excessive fluctuation of exchange rates, a further decline of the dollar, or a rise in the dollar to an extent that becomes destabilizing to the adjustment process, could be counterproductive by damaging growth prospects in the world economy.

 

Structural Reforms

 

9. International cooperation involves more than coordination of macroeconomic policies. Structural reforms complement macroeconomic policies, enhance their effectiveness, and provide the basis for more robust growth. We shall collectively review our progress on structural reforms and shall strive to integrate structural policies into our economic coordination process.

 

10. We will continue to pursue structural reforms by removing barriers, unnecessary controls and regulations; increasing competition, while mitigating adverse effects on social groups or regions; removing disincentives to work, save, and invest, such as through tax reform; and by improving education and training. The specific priorities that each of us has identified are outlined in the attached Annex on Structural Reforms.

 

11. We welcome the further development of the OECD's surveillance of structural reforms. Such surveillance would be particularly useful in improving public understanding of the reforms by revealing their impact on government budgets, consumer prices, and international trade.

 

12. One of the major structural problems in both developed and developing countries is in the field of agricultural policies. It is essential that recent significant policy reform efforts undertaken by a number of parties be continued through further positive action by all Summit participants. More market-oriented agricultural policies should assist in the achievement of important objectives such as preserving rural areas and family farming, raising quality standards and protecting the environment. We welcome the OECD's increased emphasis on structural adjustment and development in the rural economy.

 

13. Financial and technological innovations are rapidly integrating financial markets internationally, contributing to a better allocation of capital but also increasing the speed and extent to which disturbances in one country may be transmitted to other countries. We will continue to cooperate with other countries in the examination of the functioning of the global financial system, including securities markets.

 

Multilateral Trading System/Uruguay Round

 

14. A successful Uruguay Round will assure the integrity of an open, predictable multilateral trading system based on clear rules and will lead to trade expansion and enhanced economic growth. At Punta del Este, Ministers committed themselves to further trade liberalization across the wide range of goods and services, including such new areas as trade-related intellectual property and trade-related investment measures, to strengthen the multilateral trading system, and to allow for early agreements where appropriate. Countries must continue to resist protectionism and the temptation to adopt unilateral measures outside the framework of GATT rules. In order to preserve a favourable negotiating climate, the participants should conscientiously implement the commitments to standstill and rollback that they have taken at Punta del Este and subsequent international meetings.

 

15. We strongly welcome the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the USA, and the steady progress towards the target of the European Community to complete the internal market by 1992. It is our policy that these developments, together with other moves towards regional cooperation in which our countries are involved, should support the open, multilateral trading system and catalyze the liberalizing impact of the Uruguay Round.

 

16. We attach major importance to strengthening the GATT itself. It is vital that the GATT become a more dynamic and effective organization, particularly in regard to the surveillance of trade policies and dispute settlement procedures, with greater Ministerial involvement, and strengthened linkages with other international organizations. GATT disciplines must be improved so that members accept their obligations and ensure that disputes are resolved speedily, effectively and equitably.

 

17. Trade plays a key role in development. We encourage the developing countries, especially the newly industrializing economies, to undertake increased commitments and obligations and a greater role in the GATT, commensurate with their importance in international trade and in the international adjustment process, as well as with their respective stages of development. Equally, developed countries should continue to strive to ensure more open markets for the exports of developing countries.

 

18. In agriculture, continued political impetus is essential to underpin the politically difficult efforts at domestic policy reform and to advance the equally difficult and related process of agricultural trade reform. Although significant progress was made in 1987 in the Uruguay Round negotiations, with the tabling of major proposals, it is necessary to ensure that the Mid-Term Review in Montreal in December, 1988 adds impetus to the negotiations in this as in other fields. We support efforts to adopt a framework approach, including short as well as long-term elements which will promote the reform process as launched last year and relieve current strains in agricultural markets. This would be facilitated by a device for the measurement of support and protection. Also, ways should be developed to take account of food security and social concerns. To move the issue forward, and noting among other things the diversity of our agricultural situations, our negotiators in Geneva must develop a framework approach which includes short-term options in line with long-term goals concerning the reduction of all direct and indirect subsidies and other measures affecting directly or indirectly agricultural trade. The objective of the framework approach would be to make the agricultural sector more responsive to market signals.

 

19. As the Uruguay Round enters a more difficult phase, it is vital to ensure the momentum of these ambitious negotiations. The Mid-Term Review will provide a unique opportunity to send a credible political signal to the trading world. The greatest possible advance must be made in all areas of the negotiations, including, where appropriate, decisions, so as to reach before the end of the year the stage where tangible progress can be registered. To this end, we support efforts to adopt a framework approach on all issues in the negotiations, i.e. reform of the GATT system and rules, market access, agriculture and new issues (such as trade in services, trade-related intellectual property rights, and trade-related investment measures). For our part, we are committed to ensure that the Mid-Term Review establishes a solid base for the full and complete success of the negotiations, in accordance with the Punta del Este Declaration.

 

20. We all recognize the critical and expanding role of international investment in the world economy and share a deep concern that increased protectionism would undermine the benefits of open investment policies. We resolve to progressively liberalize international investment policies and urge other countries to do likewise.

 

Newly Industrializing Economies

 

21. Certain newly-industrializing economies (NIEs) in the Asia-Pacific region have become increasingly important in world trade. Although these economies differ in many important respects, they are all characterized by dynamic, export-led growth which has allowed them to treble their share of world trade since 1960. Other outward-oriented Asian countries are also beginning to emerge as rapidly-growing exporters of manufactures. With increased economic importance come greater international responsibilities and a strong mutual interest in improved constructive dialogue and cooperative efforts in the near term between the industrialized countries and the Asian NIEs, as well as the other outward-oriented countries in the region. The dialogue and cooperative efforts could centre on such policy areas as macroeconomic, currency, structural and trade to achieve the international adjustment necessary for sustained, balanced growth of the world economy. We encourage the development of informal processes which would facilitate multilateral discussions of issues of mutual concern and foster the necessary cooperation.

 

Developing Countries and Debt

 

22. The performance of developing countries is increasingly important to the world economy. Central to the prospects of the developing countries are a healthy global economic environment and an open trading system, adequate financial flows and, most important, their commitment to appropriate economic reform. The problems of many heavily-indebted developing countries are a cause of economic and political concern and can be a threat to political stability in developing countries. Several countries find themselves in that situation in various regions of the world: Latin America, Africa and the Pacific, particularly the Philippines, and that merits our special attention.

 

Middle-Income Countries

 

23. A number of highly-indebted middle-income countries continue to have difficulties servicing their external debt and generating the investment necessary for sustainable growth. The market-oriented, growth-led strategy based on the case-by-case approach remains the only viable approach for overcoming their external debt problems.

 

24. We are encouraged that many indebted countries have begun the difficult process of macroeconomic adjustment and structural reform necessary for sustained progress, encouraging the return of flight capital and new investment flows. The success of these efforts is essential for improving the economic performance and strengthening the creditworthiness of these countries.

 

25. Official financing has played a central role in the debt strategy through the Paris Club (US $73 billion of principal and interest have been consolidated since 1983) and the flexible policies of export credit agencies. The international financial institutions will continue to have a pivotal role. We endorse the recent initiatives taken by the International Monetary Fund to strengthen its capacity to support medium-term programs of macroeconomic adjustment and structural reform and to provide greater protection for adjustment programs from unforeseen external developments. We strongly support the full implementation of the World Bank's US $75 billion General Capital Increase to strengthen its capacity to promote adjustment in middle-income countries. We also support greater awareness by international financial institutions of the environmental impact of their development programs.

 

26. Commercial banks have played an important role in supporting debtor countries' reform efforts through an expanded menu of financing options which has facilitated the channelling of commercial bank lending into productive uses. Their continued involvement is indispensable to the debt strategy. In this regard, the World Bank and IMF can play an important catalytic role in mobilizing additional financing from private (and official) sources in support of debtor countries' adjustment programs.

 

27. We note that in recent years there has been increasing recourse to innovative financing techniques. The important characteristics of these techniques are that they are voluntary, market-oriented, and applied on a case-by-case basis. The ``menu approach'' has engendered new financial flows and, in some cases, reduced the existing stock of debt. The flexibility of the present strategy would be enhanced by the further broadening of the menu approach and the encouragement of innovative financing techniques to improve the quality of new lending, but particular initiatives would have to be carefully considered.

 

28. International direct investment plays an important role in spurring economic growth and structural adjustment in developing countries. Thus it contributes to alleviating debt problems. Developing countries should welcome and encourage such investment by creating a favourable investment climate.

 

Debt of the Poorest

 

29. An increase in concessional resource flows is necessary to help the poorest developing countries resume sustained growth, especially in cases where it is extremely difficult for them to service their debts. Since Venice, progress in dealing with the debt burden of these countries has been encouraging. Paris Club creditors are rescheduling debt at extended grace and repayment periods. In addition, the recent enhancement of the IMF's Structural Adjustment Facility; the World Bank and Official Development Assistance (ODA) agencies' enhanced program of co-financing; and the fifth replenishment of the African Development Fund will mobilize a total of more than US $18 billion in favour of the poorest and most indebted countries undertaking adjustment efforts over the period 1988/90. Out of this total, US $15 billion will be channelled to sub-Saharan African countries.

 

30. We welcome proposals made by several of us to ease further the debt service burdens of the poorest countries that are undertaking internationally-approved adjustment programs. We have achieved consensus on rescheduling official debt of these countries within a framework of comparability that allows official creditors to choose among concessional interest rates usually on shorter maturities, longer repayment periods at commercial rates, partial write-offs of debt service obligations during the consolidation period, or a combination of these options. This approach allows official creditors to choose options consistent with their legal or budgetary constraints. The Paris Club has been urged to work out necessary technicalities to ensure comparability by the end of this year at the very latest. This approach will provide benefits over and above the impressive multilateral agreements to help the poorest countries over the past year. We also welcome the action taken by a number of creditor governments to write-off or otherwise remove the burden of ODA loans, and also urge countries to maintain a high grant element in their future assistance to the poorest.

 

Environment

 

31. We agree that the protection and enhancement of the environment is essential. The report of the World Commission on Environment and Development has stressed that environmental considerations must be integrated into all areas of economic policy-making if the globe is to continue to support humankind. We endorse the concept of sustainable development.

 

32. Threats to the environment recognize no boundaries. Their urgent nature requires strengthened international cooperation among all countries. Significant progress has been achieved in a number of environmental areas. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a milestone. All countries are encouraged to sign and ratify it.

 

33. Further action is needed. Global climate change, air, sea and fresh water pollution, acid rain, hazardous substances, deforestation, and endangered species require priority attention. It is, therefore, timely that negotiations on a protocol on emissions of nitrogen oxides within the framework of the Geneva Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution be pursued energetically. The efforts of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for an agreement on the transfrontier shipment of hazardous wastes should also be encouraged as well as the establishment of an inter-governmental panel on global climate change under the auspices of UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). We also recognize the potential impact of agriculture on the environment, whether negative through over-intensive use of resources or positive in preventing desertification. We welcome the Conference on the Changing Atmosphere to be held in Toronto next week.

 

Future Summits

 

34. We, the Heads of State or Government, and the representatives of the European Community, believe that the Economic Summits have strengthened the ties of solidarity, both political and economic, that exist between our countries and that thereby they have helped to sustain the values of democracy that underlie our economic and political systems. Our annual meetings have provided the principal opportunity each year for the governments of the major industrialized countries to reflect, in an informal and flexible manner, upon their common responsibility for the progress of the world economy and to resolve how that responsibility should have practical manifestation in the years ahead. We believe that the mutual understanding engendered in our meetings has benefitted both our own countries and the wider world community. We believe, too, that the opportunities afforded by our meetings are becoming even more valuable in today's world of increasing interdependence and increasing technological change. We have therefore agreed to institute a further cycle of Summits by accepting the invitation of the President of the French Republic to meet in France, July 14-16, 1989.

 

Other Issues

 

Human Frontier Science Program

 

1. We note the successful conclusion of Japan's feasibility study on the Human Frontier Science Program and are grateful for the opportunities our scientists were given to contribute to the study. We look forward to the Japanese Government's proposal for the implementation of the program in the near future.

 

Bioethics

 

2. We note that, as part of the continuing review of the ethical implications of developments in the life sciences, the Italian Government hosted the fifth conference on bioethics in April 1988, and we welcome the intention of the European Communities to host the sixth conference in the spring of 1989.

 

 

 

Annex on Structural Reforms

 

 -- Europe is pursuing structural reforms to complement macroeconomic policies in order to spur job creation, enhance growth potential, and achieve a sustainable pattern of external balances. Structural reform measures are being put into place in the framework of the Communities' program for a unified internal market by 1992; including full liberalization of capital movements; removal of physical, administrative and technical barriers to allow the full mobility of persons, goods and services and an improvement of competition policy. However, full achievement will depend on complete and timely implementation of the measures and on complementary policies including those in the fields of regional, social and environmental policies and of technological co-operation.

 

 -- The main elements of Germany's structural reforms are tax reform and reduction, deregulation and privatization, reform of the postal and telecommunication system, increased flexibility in the labour market, and reform of the social security system.

 

 -- In France, the main structural reforms will deal with improving the level of education and professional training and development for workers, and with major improvements in the functioning of financial markets in order to facilitate the financing of the economy at the lowest possible cost.

 

 -- Italy will seek to promote training and education, increase the flexibility of the labour market to spur employment, improve the functioning of financial markets, revise the tax system to promote efficiency and eliminate distortions, and enhance public sector efficiency.

 

 -- In the United Kingdom, there has already been a substantial program of tax reform, trade union law reform, deregulation, opening up of markets and privatization of state industries. This will continue. Further measures are being introduced to improve both the quality of education and the flexibility of the housing market.

 

 -- Japan will pursue further structural reforms to support and sustain the greater reliance on domestic demand-led growth which has quickened remarkably. Japan will promote reform of government regulations in key sectors including land use policies and the distribution system, and reform of the tax system.

 

 -- For the United States, where recent indications that the declining trend in private savings may have bottomed out are encouraging, it is nonetheless a priority to increase incentives to save. Also the United States will strengthen the international competitiveness of its industrial sector.

 

 -- The most promising areas of structural reform in Canada are implementation of the second stage of tax reform, the proposed liberalization of the financial services sector, and, most important, the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

 

Note: The declaration was not issued as a White House press release.