ST. PETERSBURG (09/02/2013) - This week's G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia is the first time since the "great recession" that world leaders are dealing with an economy that is stable enough to allow them to engage in talks that could actually lead to reform.
The G20 agenda is wide-ranging, but our local lawmakers have their own ideas of what will have the biggest impact.
"If we don't fight for our national interests and these trade agreements, we lose," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Here are the goals for this year's G20 Summit: growth through quality jobs and investment, trust and transparency, and effective regulation.
Brown says the U.S. must participate in a real way, pushing hard on the issues that impact our workers and the economy.
"Countries around the world typically practice trade according to their national interests. We, for far too long as a country, have practiced trade according to some economic textbook that is 20 years out of print," said Brown.
G20 nations make up two-thirds of the world's population and 80-percent of international global trade. But the group of leaders is thought to be small enough to still be an effective decision-making body. That's important, because trade matters in Northwest Ohio.
"I have companies in my District that are large exporters," explained Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH). "And if they aren't exporting, they're not providing jobs."
Creating jobs around the globe is a focus at the G20 Summit and for our lawmakers in Washington. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) was a trade representative under President George W. Bush, and now he has some advice for President Obama.
"The president ought to be tough on them and say, ‘Look, we're willing to trade. Trade is a good thing. But it has to be on a level playing field, and you have to abide by the rules,'" said Portman.
Our lawmakers say our strength as a nation lies in our workforce and ability to innovate. They're hopeful with a better trade policy and aggressive enforcement of international regulations that our economy will change.
And it all starts at the G20, this week in St. Petersburg.
President Obama will attend the G20, despite tensions with Russia and amid an escalating situation in Syria.
The White House says the president will remain focused on the types of discussions our local lawmakers say are imperative our economy in Toledo on track.
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