Press Gaggle by Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen Ahead of the G20 Summit in India in New Delhi, India
The Park Hotel
SECRETARY YELLEN: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here.
I'd like to share a few introductory thoughts about the priorities we'll be focused on throughout this week.
First, we're committed to supporting emerging markets in developing countries and to addressing global challenges. This includes our ongoing work on evolving the multilateral development banks.
One year since my call to action to the multilateral development banks, we've worked with a growing coalition of partners to make significant progress on reforms related to the World Bank's mission and vision, incentives, operational model, and financing capacity. We're glad to have Ajay Banga as our partner in this work.
And we look forward to more work with the regional development banks and on how to achieve greater collaboration across the MDB system, including to increase access to climate finance.
We've already made significant progress in expanding the MDBs' financial capacity. The recommendations that are currently being implemented or under consideration across the MDBs could unlock an additional $200 billion over the next decade. Those are crucial additional resources for reducing poverty, advancing global health security, and combating climate change.
I saw firsthand the impact this funding can have during my last trip to India just over a month ago, when Ajay Banga and I visited an education data hub supported by the World Bank and met the students whose lives were being improved.
There's scope to do even more on financial capacity, including through some of the more medium-term recommendations of the G20 Capital Adequacy Framework review, particularly with respect to callable capital.
We're also asking Congress for two and a quarter billion dollars to boost the World Bank's concessional finance for global challenges and for crisis response. And we've requested authorization for a loan of up to $21 billion for the IMF, including for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which desperately needs more resources.
We also hope to build support for an equi-proportional increase in quotas during meetings this week.
This week also provides an opportunity to discuss debt relief. We continue to support efforts to provide predictable, orderly, and timely debt relief to countries, including under the Common Framework for Debt Treatment where progress has been too slow.
As a second priority area, we remain committed to extensive and strategic multilateral action in response to Russia's war on Ukraine. The price cap and sanctions, both the result of unprecedented global collaboration, are having powerful impacts on Russia's ability to wage its brutal and unjust war.
We also remain committed to support for Ukraine and recently put forward a supplemental funding request. There has been bipartisan support for this funding to date, and it's critical that we continue to provide timely economic assistance.
During my visit to Kyiv earlier this year, I saw firsthand the importance of this assistance in enabling Ukraine's resistance on the frontlines.
We're also grateful for the involvement of our partners, including the €50 billion package proposed by the European Union and the $15 billion International Monetary Fund program, which has been essential to Ukraine's efforts to implement reforms and stabilize the economy.
And we need to remain focused on addressing the devastating consequences of the war, including its impact on food security. Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative is deeply concerning and is particularly being felt by low- and middle-income countries.
In response, we hope to move forward on efforts such as supporting the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program and working toward a successful replenishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Last but not least, continuing to advance the U.S.-India relationship will be a priority this week. We highly value our bilateral relationship with India.
In fact, this is my fourth time in India over the last year, making it the country I visited most frequently as Treasury Secretary. We also welcomed Prime Minister Modi to the U.S. in June.
The U.S. is home to the largest Indian diaspora outside of Asia and is India's largest export market. Expanding our bilateral economic ties and our cooperation on global challenges is crucially important to us.
And let me stop there. And with that, I'm happy to take your questions.
MODERATOR: We'll start with Josh, with the AP.
Q: Secretary Yellen, thank you so much for doing this. The World Bank, among others, has also expressed concern about a period of higher interest rates and slower grobal -- global growth. I'm curious for what you're hearing from other countries about the risks to global growth and how that's shaping all the priorities that you just outlined.
SECRETARY YELLEN: So, certainly, we're aware of the risks to global growth. I would say the most important negative influence is Russia's war on Ukraine, which has escalated energy and food prices. And as -- as many at G20 meetings have stated repeated- -- repeatedly: The most important thing we could do for global growth is for Russia to end its brutal war on Ukraine.
That said, I think I've personally been surprised by the strength of global growth and how resilient the global economy has proven to be. And recently, the IMF has somewhat improved its economic projections.
But many countries have built important buffers, which have enabled them to weather very significant shocks to the global economy. And while there are risks in some countries that have been -- certainly have been affected, overall, the global economy has been resilient. And, as you know, the United States has done particularly well.
MODERATOR: Viktoria, Bloomberg.
Q: Thank you. As -- just a follow-up. How concerned are you about the Chinese slowdown? Or how does it affect your outlook for the global -- how does it affect your global growth outlook?
And also, just on Ukraine, you talked about U.S. support. I was just wondering, especially on the supplemental funding request, if you're at all concerned about having difficulty getting this through Congress, given negotiations over government funding and -- yeah. Thank you.
SECRETARY YELLEN: So, with respect to China, China faces a variety of both short- and longer-term global challenges -- economic challenges that we've been monitoring carefully, including less of a pickup in consumer spending than had been anticipated in the aftermath of the COVID restrictions, as well as longstanding issues with respect to the property sector and debt -- debt related to that.
And longer term, of course, population growth has now turned negative and the labor force is beginning to shrink, so see China's growth as slowing over time.
That said, China has quite a bit of policy space to address these challenges.
So, we're monitoring the situation. I don't see it as having very significant, direct impact on the United States. Some countries in East Asia are more likely to be aff- -- affected by the slowdown. But it's something that we are keeping an eye on.
With respect to the supplemental, I'm pleased that there has been bipartisan support in both houses of Congress for Ukraine, and I feel confident that we'll be able to make sure that we have funding.
We continue to stand behind Ukraine for as long as is necessary.
MODERATOR: Ed, with CBS.
Q: Thank you. Madam Secretary, I'm curious about
two things. First, the absence of President Xi and Putin this weekend and how that might reshape the meetings or potentially
affect the utility of the G20 going forward if these two leaders in their -- at the highest levels aren't here.
Also, curious if you have any comment on the apparent reports out of China that they're banning the use of iPhones by government workers or further restricting them for whatever reason, similar to how we've banned TikTok and Huawei. Would that have any effects more broadly on this sort of ongoing back-and-forth over U.S. and Chinese technology? And how could that affect the global economy?
SECRETARY YELLEN: Well, let me start with your first question pertaining to the absence of Xi and Putin. I think it's important to emphasize that the G20 is a prime contributor to the solution of global challenges. We see it as the premier organization that on a global basis is taking on critical challenges facing the global economy and, particularly, the Global South.
And I believe the G20 -- in spite of obvious problems due to the -- due to Russia's war against Ukraine and Russia's,
you know, general absence from G20 initiatives, I believe the G20 has been extremely effective. And especially under India's leadership, our goals for the G20 have coincided closely with those of India. We've tackled very important challenges.
As I mentioned, I think we've had considerable success in changing the way the entire multilateral development system is operating -- increasing its mission to take on a variety of global challenges, ranging from better preparedness for future pandemics, where we have established a new finance and health ministers task force; a fund -- a pandemic fund at the World Bank; as well as climate change, taking on global challenges along with poverty reduction.
We've made, over the last year, very substantial progress in changing not only the mission but also improving the financial resources of the multilateral development banks to perform their critical missions in changing the incentives and structures under which they operate. And I -- I think that's been an extremely effective initiative.
Under India's leadership, debt has been -- in- --international debt and providing relief to countries that are overindebted -- partly because of the impact of Russia's war against Ukraine, but also the high-interest-rate environment -- and begin -- believe we're beginning to make significant progress there.
So, I do see the G20 as a very effective forum. We appreciate India's leadership. We look forward, ourselves, to hosting the G20 in 2026. And even without Russia's active participation and the tensions the war has created, I still see the G20 as highly effective.
Q: And China potentially, you know, withholding access to iPhones?
SECRETARY YELLEN: Oh, on iPhone -- I'm sorry. I -- I'm not aware of what's involved in that. I'm not -- I'm not really prepared to give you an answer on that.
MODERATOR: James (inaudible).
Q: Thank you, Secretary Yellen. How soon are you expecting other U.S. allies and partners to join your plan for the World Bank with specific pledges? And will the scale of this be sufficient to really reduce the dependence of emerging economies on lending from China, which your administration has described as coercive?
SECRETARY YELLEN: Well, we certainly seek with our G20 partners to enhance the financial capacity of the World Bank and the MDB system more generally.
And the reforms that are underway, as I indicated, could lead -- over the next decade -- to an additional $200 billion.
In addition, we're looking forward to discussing the possibility of other Capi- -- putting in place other Capital Adequacy Framework rec- -- recommendations, like adding callable capital that could further increase the resources.
But President Biden has asked Congress to provide an additional two and a quarter billion dollars to the World Bank -- an initiative that is designed to show our commitment to relieving global problems of the South; taking on global issues, like climate change and pandemic preparedness.
And those resources can lead to around an additional $25 billion -- just the U.S. contribution -- to lending ability of the World Bank. They would go toward additional funds for IDA to make very low-cost subsidized loans to the most challenged low-income countries, as well as conce- -- as concessional finance to attack global problems.
And we have asked other countries to join with us to the extent that they're able to in this initiative. We're hopeful that other countries, depending on their financial capacity, will join us and we can scale that up.
In addition, with respect to the IMF, the supplemental calls for an additional $25 billion loan from the U.S. to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust at the IMF that would be further concessional finance for low-income countries.
So, these are important initiatives doing what we can. And it's not just a question of responding to China; it's a question of addressing to longstanding global challenges, reducing poverty, addressing global -- global public goods issues that this is -- this is a critically important mission.
MODERATOR: Catherine Lucey, the Journal.
Q: Thank you, Secretary. Do you think that the G20 will be able to reach agreement on a communiqué and, specifically, on the war in Ukraine as part of that?
SECRETARY YELLEN: So, I understand that this is challenging to craft such language, but I know the negotiators are discussing it and working hard to do so. And we stand ready, certainly, to work with India to try to craft a communiqué that successfully addresses this concern.
MODERATOR: We have time for one final question. (Inaudible.)
Q: Thank you, Madam Secretary. There are indications that Russia has found some ways around your price cap by using fewer Western insurance services and ships. And, in fact, the price of Russian oil has -- has climbed, in some cases, above the price cap. Are you worried that your Russia policy is becoming more difficult to effectively implement?
SECRETARY YELLEN: So, my perception is that the price cap continues to work.
It had two goals. One was to cut Russia's revenues. And our estimate is that Russia's revenue from oil has declined by around 44 percent over the last year. The second goal was to keep the global market well-supplied, and Russia's exports and sales into the global market have continued and have not significantly contracted.
Now, the ban repl- -- applies to services. The -- so, the $60 price cap applies to any oil sold using services from members of the coalition. And although there is -- there are sales that are permitted under the price cap, as you mentioned, that do not use Western services -- and many of those are occurring at prices above $60 -- they're not a violation of the price cap. And it is very expensive for Russia and other countries to provide services where Western providers have clear price advantages.
And so, while such things are occurring, it erodes the revenue that Russia is able to receive on net from those sales.
And certainly, there are substantial sales that are occurring as well using Western services. And as far as we can tell -- and we're certainly monitoring for evasion of the sanctions -- these sales are occurring below the $60 price cap. So, I do believe it continues to work.
MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.
Joseph R. Biden, Press Gaggle by Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen Ahead of the G20 Summit in India in New Delhi, India Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/364811