MEXICO CITY – Finance ministers and central bank governors from the world's leading economies met in Mexico on Sunday amid growing fears over the global impact of Europe's debt crisis and the stalemate over a fiscal plan in the United States.
The two-day meeting of G-20 financial officials in Mexico City, coming just ahead of U.S. elections and shortly after the annual IMF and World Bank meeting in Tokyo, lacked key players such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Brazilian finance chief Guido Mantega.
Although recent financial talks have focused on the debt crisis in Europe, especially in Greece and Spain, some delegates in Mexico expressed concern over the fiscal situation in Washington.
Mexican finance minister Jose Antonio Meade said that among the issues dealt with at this meeting will be "the fiscal cliff" in the United States, where a package of spending cuts and tax increases are set to take effect unless Congress acts by Jan. 1.
"In recent meetings, the United States has expressed confidence that it will be able to build the political consensuses needed to make adjustments that will send clear signals that a fiscal consolidation is coming," said Meade.
The closed-door meeting will be the last organized by Mexico in its role as president of the G-20 in 2012.
In a working meeting with delegates late Sunday, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos was expected to explain his government's labor and banking reforms designed to deal with a crisis that has seen the country's unemployment rate rise to 25 percent.
An official with the Spanish delegation, who declined to be named in line official policy, said De Guindos was not expected to announce any changes in Spain's position on international financial aid.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said last week that he saw no immediate need to ask for help but did not rule it out in the future.
The G-20 brings together the world's principal economies and important emerging ones, including the United States, the European Union, China and Brazil.