Video: Coronavirus outbreak dominates G20 meeting

The coronavirus outbreak, climate change risk, and global tax rules for tech giants were on G20 finance leaders’ agenda at their Saudi Arabia meeting.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the accompanying video. ©2020 Thomson Reuters

It was a G20 meeting dominated by growing concern over the coronavirus outbreak. Finance ministers and central bankers from the world's top 20 economies wrapped up their two-day meeting in Saudi Arabia on Sunday [23 February]. The group faced a sober presentation by the IMF, which predicted the epidemic would shave a 0.1 percentage point off global growth.

China has vowed to step up policy adjustments to help cushion the blow on the economy from the outbreak. The epidemic, which originated in China, has since spread to nearly 30 countries and territories.

Progress was made in other areas of the meeting though. The group reportedly agreed the wording of a final communique that includes a reference to climate change for the first time in the Trump administration. US officials have resisted naming climate change as an economic risk since he was elected in 2016.

Ministers also encouraged further work by the OECD on global rules to tax digital giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The OECD, the G20's think-tank, is to prepare technical assumptions by July that would allow governments to tax digital companies where they do business, rather than where they are registered for tax purposes.