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Five key points from G20 finance statement

Fukuoka, Japan (AFP): At a two-day meeting in the western Japanese city of Fukuoka, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors noted the possibility of global economic headwinds amid “intensified” trade tensions.
They also vowed to step up efforts to reform the international tax system to include internet giants and, for the first time, discussed the impact of rapid ageing on the global economy.
Here are five key points from their joint statement:

– World economy –

The G20 said global growth “appears to be stabilising” and should “pick up moderately later this year and into 2020.”
But they added that “growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside.”
“Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified. We will continue to address these risks and stand ready to take further action.”
The ministers also stressed that “international trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development.”

– Global imbalances –

The statement noted that global current account imbalances have “narrowed” since the 2008 financial crisis but “remain large and persistent.”

– Ageing –

For the first time, the G20 tackled the issue of ageing as a potential risk to economic growth.
The world’s top economies should consider “encouraging labour market participation in particular of women and older people and promoting elderly-friendly industries,” the statement said.
They were also urged to consider “designing the tax system in an equitable and growth-friendly manner, so as to better respond to the challenges posed by ageing.”
In addition, ministers were asked to weigh “assisting financial institutions to make any needed adjustments to their business models and services.”

– Digital tax –

Ministers pledged to cooperate “for a globally fair, sustainable, and modern international tax system, and welcome international cooperation to advance pro-growth tax policies.”
In response to “the tax challenges arising from digitalisation”, and amid discussion of a global system to tax internet giants like Google and Facebook, the ministers vowed greater “efforts for a consensus-based solution with a final report by 2020.”

– Cryptocurrency –

Technological innovations such as cryptocurrency “can deliver significant benefits to the financial system and the broader economy,” the G20 statement said.
However, “while crypto-assets do not pose a threat to global financial stability at this point, we remain vigilant to risks,” the ministers added.

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