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23 March 2018

G20 fi­nance min­is­ters and cen­tral bank gov­er­nors con­vene in Buenos Aires

On 19–20 March 2018, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors gathered in Buenos Aires for their first meeting under Argentina’s presidency. Germany’s new finance minister Olaf Scholz was also in attendance. Discussions addressed a wide range of key issues, focusing in particular on the shape of the global economy, financial market regulation, international tax policy and the fight against terrorist financing.

G20 finance ministers and central bank governors convene in Buenos Aires
Source:  Picture Alliance

At their first meeting under Argentina’s presidency, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors discussed a number of key issues including the shape of the global economy, the international financial architecture, financial market regulation, international tax policy and the fight against terrorist financing.

The agenda also included the two top priorities of Argentina’s presidency. First, looking at “The Future of Work”, G20 members examined the ways in which rapid technological change is affecting the workplace and how people work. They also explored fiscal policy measures – particularly in the areas of tax policy and social policy – that can be taken in order to respond effectively to these trends. Second, the meeting placed a special focus on the issue of “Infrastructure”, with the aim of paving the way towards making public infrastructure its own asset class.

One of the main issues raised during talks on the state of the global economy was the potential constriction of global trade in light of recent announcements by the United States. Many G20 members underscored the crucial role that free trade plays in fostering global economic growth. In addition, G20 leaders cited the persistence of various downside risks – high levels of debt in particular – and the need to take measures to prevent future crises.

In the area of tax policy, the OECD presented its interim report on the tax challenges arising from digitalisation, which also maps out the agreed direction of work. G20 members conducted in-depth discussions on this matter at the Buenos Aires meeting but have not yet reached consensus on joint measures. The issue of crypto-assets (such as bitcoin) was also on the agenda thanks to a joint request by France and Germany.

The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors discussed the need to regulate crypto-assets, along with various options for regulating them. In addition, they asked the relevant international standard-setting bodies to prepare a report on crypto-assets by the time the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors convene for their third meeting in July 2018.

The communiqué from the Buenos Aires meeting summarises the G20’s shared positions in all key policy areas.

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