By JIM HEINTZAssociated Press
MOSCOW (AP) - The Group of 20's finance ministers said Saturday their countries consider strengthening economic growth and creating jobs to be top priorities.
In a communique at the end of their meeting in Moscow, the ministers noted that although there are signs of stronger economies in the United States and Japan, the group of 17 European Union countries that use the euro continues to suffer from recession and that economic growth in emerging markets is comparatively slow.
The ministers also said they were "mindful of the risks and unintended negative side effects of extended periods of monetary easing." They did not directly address the situation in the U.S., where speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon wind down its bond-buying program has roiled markets around the world - especially in developing economies.
In a separate statement, IMF head Christine Lagarde said the meeting saw constructive discussions on "the spillover effects of monetary policies, the implications of recent market volatility, and the need for balanced and credible fiscal strategies."
"''The global economy remains too weak and unemployment is too high in many countries," she said. "There has also been an increase in financial market volatility and tightening of financial conditions."
The G-20 communique called on members "to ensure that international and our own tax rules do not allow or encourage multinational enterprises to reduce overall taxes paid by artificially shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions."
On Friday the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development unveiled a 15-point plan for a united front to fight tax avoidance by multinational companies. If adopted, the measures would close loopholes and allow countries to tax profits held in offshore subsidiaries. It would also target such practices as deducting the same expense more than once, in more than one country.
At a summit last month in Northern Ireland, leaders of the G-8 countries published sweeping goals for tightening the tax rules on globe-trotting corporations that long have exploited loopholes to shift profits into foreign shelters that charge little tax or none. But that initiative, aimed at forcing the Googles and Apples of the world to pay higher taxes, contained only aspirations, not binding commitments.
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