The West

Wayne Swan. Picture: Reuters.
Wayne Swan. Picture: Reuters.

Treasurer Wayne Swan is heading to Washington for talks with the heads of the US Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the G20 Finance Ministers' meeting in Mexico City.

The two-day G20 meeting concluded on Monday against a backdrop of great uncertainty in the world economy.

Europe is in recession and the US is facing the so-called fiscal cliff - spending cuts and tax hikes that will automatically come into effect in January and risk harming the US economy and global growth.

"I think most here have welcomed the recent actions of central banks both in Europe and also in the United States as one way to strengthen growth in the global economy," Mr Swan told reporters in Mexico City.

"But of course, more needs to be done."

The clear message from many in the meeting was that their European colleagues needed to remove the policy uncertainties that were dragging on growth and investment, Mr Swan said.

The meeting wanted swift action of the fiscal cliff following the US presidential election.

Mr Swan will meet Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, IMF chief Christine Lagarde and US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

"It will be a very good opportunity to get a further briefing on the views of prominent policy makers in Washington as to what must be done following the presidential election to deal with the fiscal cliff," he said.

The treasurer earlier told the G20 meeting he was disappointed the group was still crisis managing.

"The few of us still here who sat around the G20 in the darkest days of 2008 could not have predicted that more than four years later we would be here still talking about stability mechanisms and further unconventional action by central banks," he said.

"We have spent far too much time in the subsequent four years discussing how to deal with the risks to growth and not enough time taking action to lift growth."

The West Australian

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