London, SPA — Finance ministers from the world”s
wealthiest nations on Saturday tried to reach agreement on
a historic plan to immediately wipe out US$40 billion worth
of debt owed by the world”s poorest nations.
Britain and the United States want the Group of Eight
countries to immediately cancel the debts owed by 18 of the
world”s poorest countries that have already met strict
targets of good governance. A further 20 countries could
eventually be eligible for debt relief under the Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, leading to a total debt
relief package of more than US$55 billion.
"The ministers are continuing to discuss the proposal
this morning," said Tony Fratto, spokesman for U.S.
Treasury Secretary John Snow. "We hope to achieve an
agreement among the full G-8 ministers but we have not
achieved that yet."
Ministers from Britain, the United States, Italy, Germany,
Russia, France, Canada and Japan are also expected to
discuss other issues Saturday, including concerns about the
effect of high oil prices _ they remain around 40 percent
higher than a year ago _ on the global economy, the U.S.
twin deficits and sluggish European growth.
China”s inclusion at a breakfast meeting will also provide
an opportunity for U.S. and European ministers to press for
the Chinese currency, the yuan, to be floated _ they claim
it is overvalued, leading to floods of cheap imports.
However, debt relief remains the main topic at the
meeting, according to a report of the Associated Press.