G20 policymakers vowed Sunday to “redouble” their bid to reform by the end of next year the international tax system to take account of internet giants such as Facebook and Google. Speaking about international taxation, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors said in a statement seen by AFP: “We will redouble our efforts for a consensus-based solution with a final report by 2020.” However, here again, the Fukuoka meeting exposed a difference of opinion over what form this reform should take.
Frustrated by a lack of global action on the issue, some countries such as Britain and France have already introduced a so-called digital tax, but Mnuchin was blunt in his assessment of these policies. “I would say the US has significant concerns with the two current taxes that are being proposed by France and the UK but let me give them some good credit for proposing them in the sense (that) they have created an urgency to deal with this issue,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a public meeting before the formal G20 started. “Although I don’t like them, I do appreciate the impetus for these issues,” added the top US finance official. Appropriately for a meeting held in Japan — which is on track to become the world’s first “super-aged” society in which more than 28 percent of the population is over 65 — the G20 ministers discussed for the first time the “challenges and opportunities” posed by ageing. They suggested getting more women and elderly people into the workforce and “promoting elderly-friendly industries”, as well as reforming the fiscal and banking systems to take into account ageing populations. “You basically have a very large portion of mankind that is ageing and then the workforce is shrinking,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria told AFP in an interview. Solving the issue will require wholesale changes to the way society is organised, added Gurria.