G-20 Summit: Obama says US cannot carry 'world economy on our back'

US President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Queensland in Brisbane on Nov 15, 2014. Mr Obama is in Brisbane for the G20 Summit being held there over the weekend. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Queensland in Brisbane on Nov 15, 2014. Mr Obama is in Brisbane for the G20 Summit being held there over the weekend. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BRISBANE (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Saturday said the United States cannot "carry the world economy on our back" and urged G20 leaders to work harder to create jobs by revving up growth.

His appeal during a speech on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane comes with the US economy finally kicking into gear just as challenges emerge elsewhere to the world growth outlook, notably in Europe, China and Japan.

"Over the last few years the US has put more people back to work than all other advanced economies combined," Mr Obama said, with the US unemployment rate falling to 5.8 percent in October, its lowest level since July 2008. "But America can't be expected to just carry the world economy on our back.

"So here in Brisbane the G20 has a responsibility to act, to boost demand and invest more in infrastructure and create good jobs for the people of all our nations."

The leaders of the world's top industrial economies are set to pledge at their summit in Brisbane to boost their combined growth by at least two trillion dollars via domestic policy reforms, and so generate millions of new jobs.

They were initially expected to sign off on a vow to lift growth by two percent over the currently projected level in the next five years.

But a draft copy of the Brisbane Action Plan said that, owing to worries about sluggish conditions worldwide, the leaders will agree to reforms that could accelerate growth by 2.1 per cent.

"We have developed comprehensive growth strategies that address these challenges," the plan says, according to The Australian newspaper.

"Analysis by the IMF and OECD indicates that full implementation of these strategies will lift our collective GDP by 2.1 per cent through to 2018 above the trajectory implied by the policies at the time of the St Petersburg summit (last year)."

G20 nations, which make up 85 per cent of the world economy, plan to meet the goal by accelerating infrastructure investment, financial reform and encouraging free trade.

Mr Obama, who jetted into Brisbane early Saturday after attending an East Asia summit in Myanmar and the APEC forum on Asia-Pacific trade in Beijing, said abolishing protectionism and cracking down on corruption were key to hitting the growth goals.

He said the US "will continue to promote economic growth that is sustained and shared" and work to "tear down barriers to trade and investment and combat the corruption that steals from so many citizens".