Japan's Finance Minister Expresses Concerns Over China's Digital Yuan

Ahmed al-Kholifey

The taxing of global digital firms such as Amazon, Google and Apple - and the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the global economy - have figured prominently at the weekend gathering of G20 finance leaders in Riyadh.

"You can not have in a global economy different national tax systems that conflict with each other", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Riyadh gathering.

Finance chiefs and central bankers from the world's 20 largest economies say they see downside risks to global economic growth persisting and have agreed on a "menu of policy options" amid a viral outbreak that's disrupted supply chains worldwide.

"We reiterate our statement in October 2019 regarding the so-called "global stablecoins" and other similar arrangements that such risks need to be evaluated and appropriately addressed before they commence operation."

S Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin arrives for a Welcome Dinner at the Murabba Palace in Riyadh on February 22, 2020 during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting.

South Korea raised its infectious disease alert to its highest level Sunday, but the European Union noticed "no need to panic" over an epidemic in Italy.

"I think the public has every right to wait and will expect us to guarantee that the financial system is resilient and robust against the risks of climate change", he said in January.

The COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December but has already spread more in the country than severe acute respiratory syndrome did during the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic. "Frankly speaking, we can not even feel sure about the figures coming out from China", Aso told a news conference after the gathering. "As a result, the impact on the world economy would be relatively minor and short-lived", IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Saturday.

"However we're additionally taking a look at extra dire eventualities the place the unfold of the virus continues for longer and extra globally, and the expansion penalties are extra protracted", she added.

Japan's finance minister Taro Aso has warned his G20 counterparts about digital currency, saying more work is needed before any issuance.

He said Washington would respond with investigations and potential retaliatory tariffs if countries made a decision to go it alone, outside the OECD deal.

"We've been very consistent in saying we think the digital services tax is discriminatory in nature against digital companies, and specifically a handful of USA companies", he said. Countries such as Japan, and institutions including the OECD, have been pushing for nations with surpluses to spend more to help avert a deeper economic slump.

Many G20 officials view the United States as reluctant to deal with a potentially tricky political matter before the presidential election later this year.

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