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G20 financial meeting focuses on coronavirus, taxation, global economy

(Xinhua)    09:45, February 24, 2020

RIYADH, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 (G20) discussed issues of the coronavirus, taxation and global economy during a two-day meeting concluded on Sunday in Riyadh.

The G20 financial officials agreed to observe the risks of the coronavirus outbreak and adopt policies to limit its global implications, according to Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan.

Global growth would be about 0.1 percentage point lower because of the virus, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, predicted in her opening speech.

"In January, we projected global growth to strengthen from 2.9 percent last year to 3.3 percent this year. Since then, the COVID-19, a global health emergency, has disrupted activity in China," she said, expecting China's economy to "return to normal in the second quarter of 2020."

"The Chinese authorities are working to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy," Georgieva said.

"With strong and coordinated measures, the spread of the virus in China and in the world can be contained," she noted, referring to the World Health Organization's assessment.

A day earlier, the financial ministers also discussed the issues regarding taxation and global economy during the G20 International Taxation Priorities Symposium.

"With the support of the G20 countries, the international community has achieved great successes in combating tax evasion and the transfer of profits," said Ahmed al-Kholifey, governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority.

The members of the Economic Cooperation Organization of the G20 and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes work together to implement internationally recognized standards of tax transparency, he noted.

More than 6,000 bilateral cooperation agreements were signed to help tax authorities around the world to take advantage of the automatic exchange of information mechanisms, said al-Jadaan.

Global economy has witnessed many challenges recently due to the uncertainty in world trade, geopolitical factors and social unrest in some parts of the world, including this region, al-Kholifey noted.

"This backdrop was definitely a challenging one for policymakers. But the Phase One trade agreement between the U.S. and China and a more orderly Brexit process helped stabilize business confidence," the Saudi official said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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