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G20 agrees tax reform, still unsure of climate commitments

G20 agrees tax reform, still unsure of climate commitments

Rome, Italy | Leaders of the major economies of the Group of Twenty (G20) agreed Saturday in Rome to minimum taxes for multinational companies, while Europeans and Americans reached a truce in their struggle for steel. But talks are going so far as to reach a climate agreement.

A senior White House official said Saturday night that some elements of the final climate statement are “still under negotiation.”

Although progress could still be made by the end of the meeting on Sunday, some working versions of the press release being negotiated have raised concerns among NGOs that the G20 would not go much further than the promises already made during the meeting. The Paris Agreement, and does not commit to a clear timetable for achieving the goal of “zero emissions”.

An outcome that will be particularly disappointing, as COP26 opens in Glasgow on Sunday. It will bring together a wide range of countries, but the G20, which includes developed countries such as the United States and members of the European Union, but also large emerging economies such as China, Russia, Brazil or India accounts for 80% of the world. greenhouse gas emissions.

“We must not leave to those who come after us a planet afflicted by conflicts, its resources wasted,” Italian President Sergio Mattarella appealed Saturday evening at a dinner to the leaders of the Group of Twenty. “We have a responsibility to make a decisive breakthrough to overcome these burdens. The time has come. I insist that the eyes of billions of people, entire peoples, are focused on us and the results we can get.

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Several thousand people are still demonstrating for the climate on Saturday afternoon in the streets of Rome.

European Council President Charles Michel had previously realized that the question was difficult, especially for “some countries that depend on coal”.

Many emerging countries, notably China (whose president Xi Jinping only intervenes in Rome by videoconference, like his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin) are still highly dependent on this fossil fuel, which emits a lot of carbon dioxide, especially to operate their power plants. In the current context of the energy crisis.

“What we really hope to achieve is the G20 commitment to end international coal financing,” the senior US official said on Saturday evening, also calling for “positive rhetoric on decarbonization (..) from the energy sector” and commitment by “more countries” to reduce emissions Methane, another major greenhouse gas besides carbon.

green light for global tax

In the near future, heads of state and government have given the final green light to reform the global tax system, which in particular provides for the introduction of a minimum tax of 15% on multinational companies, with a view to implementation by 2023.

This “historic agreement,” in the words of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who announced it on Saturday, will be formally adopted in the closing statement of the G20 on Sunday.

For four years now, I have been struggling to apply an international tax of at least 15% to multinational corporations. Tonight, we are there! French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed a “great success” and “a clear sign of fairness”.

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In Rome, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo unveiled another “historic” agreement, this time to raise some tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that have plagued trade relations between Washington and Brussels since the Trump administration imposed those taxes. This should allow “limited quantities of European imports of steel and aluminum to enter the United States duty-free.”

European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed the truce on Twitter, and said the deal would be officially announced on Sunday by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden.

A US official announced on Saturday that the latter plans to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that day, against the backdrop of tensions between these two NATO allies.

Emmanuel Macron will discuss his side one-on-one with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who complained to Ms von der Leyen on Saturday about Paris’ “completely unjustified” threats over fishing licenses after the canal.

After a diplomatic offensive with several European leaders, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, for his part, was able to congratulate himself on Saturday on a “good meeting with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, to advance the negotiations” on the debt rescheduling of the South American country. , which he says he is approaching “firmly”.

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