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Italy's G20 presidency next year to focus on coronavirus recovery

(Xinhua)    09:05, December 10, 2020

ROME, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Helping provide greater access to coronavirus vaccines as they become available and taking steps to spark worldwide economic growth will be among the main priorities during Italy's 2021 presidency of the Group of 20 (G20), a government official said Wednesday, confirming local media reports.

The Italian G20 Presidency -- Italy's first turn in that role -- formally began this month, though all of the discussions related to Italy's presidency will take place in 2021. The main summit is scheduled to take place in Rome on Oct. 30-31 next year.

There will also be various ministerial-level talks, starting with a roundtable for G20 ministers of culture and tourism on May 3-4 in Rome.

As of now, all the events are planned to take place in person, though a government official who spoke to Xinhua confirmed that some could shift to virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For the first time in the history of the group, the main 2020 G20 summit was held via video link last month. Before the pandemic, it had been scheduled to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

An official from the office of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will take center stage during 2021 G20, as it had in Riyadh. However, instead of dwelling on strategies to contain the spread of the virus as in November, the official said, the 2021 agenda will be focused on how to emerge from the pandemic.

In a video statement released at the beginning of December marking the start of Italy's mandate, Conte said "People, planet, and prosperity (will be) the three pillars of the Italian presidency of the G20, which will guide us to the final leaders' summit in October."

"We will work for a more equitable and just economic recovery in order to fight old and new inequities," he said.

Though worldwide distribution of coronavirus vaccines and the economic stimulus will take center stage, there are more.

Minister of Economy and Finance Roberto Gualtieri said he would push for a global digital tax -- a way to tax multinational Internet companies whose services exist across borders. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said the G20 foreign ministers' meeting to be held next year in Matera, the 2019 European Capital of Culture, would be a way to promote "Italian culture, beauty, and excellence."

Created in 1999, the G20 is the main forum for international cooperation on financial and economic issues. It comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, and the United States.

According to the G20 Foundation, the members of the group account for about 90 percent of the world's economic activity and 80 percent of global trade.

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

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