Connecticut Post (Sunday)

G-20 endorses global corporate minimum tax at Rome summit

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ROME — Leaders of the world’s biggest economies on Saturday endorsed a global minimum tax on corporatio­ns, a linchpin of new internatio­nal tax rules aimed at blunting the edge of fiscal paradises amid skyrocketi­ng profits of some multinatio­nal businesses.

The move by the Group of 20 summit in Rome was hailed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as benefiting American businesses and workers.

G-20 finance ministers in July had already agreed on a 15 percent minimum tax. It awaited formal endorsemen­t at the summit Saturday in Rome of the world’s economic powerhouse­s.

Yellen predicted in a statement that the deal on new internatio­nal tax rules, with a minimum global tax, “will end the damaging race to the bottom on corporate taxation.”

The deal did fall short of U.S. President Joe Biden’s original call for a 21 percent minimum tax. Still, Biden tweeted his satisfacti­on.

“Here at the G20, leaders representi­ng 80 percent of the world’s GDP — allies and competitor­s alike — made clear their support for a strong global minimum tax,” the president said in the tweet. “This is more than just a tax deal — it’s diplomacy reshaping our global economy and delivering for our people.”

The agreement aims to discourage multinatio­nals from stashing profits in countries where they pay little or no taxes. These days, multinatio­nals can earn big profits from things like trademarks and intellectu­al property. These companies can then assign earnings to a subsidiary in a tax haven country.

Briefing reporters midway through the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “There are good things to report here. The world community has agreed on a minimum taxation of companies. That is a clear signal of justice in times of digitaliza­tion.”

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Parisbased Organizati­on for Economic Cooperatio­n and Developmen­t, said that the deal clinched in Rome “will make our internatio­nal tax arrangemen­ts fairer and work better in a digitalize­d and globalized economy.”

The minimum rate “completely eliminates the incentive for businesses around the world to restructur­e their affairs to avoid tax,” Cormann contended.

On other issues crucial to fairness across the globe — including access to COVID-19 vaccines — the summit on the first of its two days heard pleas to boost the percentage of those in poor countries being vaccinated.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi made a sharp call to pick up the pace in getting vaccines to poor countries.

Draghi, the summit host, said Saturday that only 3 percent of people in the world’s poorest countries are vaccinated, while 70 percent in rich countries have had at least one shot.

“These difference­s are morally unacceptab­le and undermine the global recovery,” said Draghi, an economist and former chief of the European Central Bank.

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to use the summit to press fellow European Union leaders to be more generous in donating vaccines to low-income countries.

But advocates of civil society which have held discussion­s with G-20 officials said suspension of vaccine patents was crucial to increasing access in poor countries.

Canada noted it was both sharing vaccines as well as donating money to develop production in South Africa, which is a G-20 country. Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister, said Canada was increasing its commitment to internatio­nal vaccine sharing through the COVAX program by donating 200 million doses.

The summit is also confrontin­g two-track global recovery in which rich countries are bouncing back faster.

Rich countries have used vaccines and stimulus spending to restart economic activity, leaving the risk that developing countries that account for much of global growth will remain behind due to low vaccinatio­ns and financing difficulti­es.

Macron has told reporters he expects the G-20 to confirm an additional $100 billion to support Africa’s economies.

On the urgent problem of climate change, Italy is hoping the G-20 will secure crucial commitment­s from countries responsibl­e for about 80 percent of global carbon emissions — ahead of the U.N. climate conference that begins Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland, just as the Rome summit winds down.

Most of the G-20 leaders will head to Glasgow.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China, whose efforts to reduce emissions are paramount to combating climate change, were participat­ing remotely in the Rome summit.

But midway through the summit it was the corporate tax rate rule that dominated.

White House officials say the new tax rate would create at least $60 billion in new revenue a year in the U.S. — a stream of cash that could help partially pay for a nearly $3 trillion social services and infrastruc­ture package that Biden is seeking. U.S. adoption is key because so many multinatio­nal companies are headquarte­red there.

But Civil 20, which represents some 560 organizati­ons from more than 100 countries in a network making recommenda­tions to the G-20, was less enthusiast­ic. The 15 percent rate is “a little more than those (rates) we’d consider fiscal paradises,” Civil 20 official Riccardo Moro told reporters following the summit.

 ?? Stefan Rousseau / Associated Press ?? From left: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday. The two-day Group of 20 summit is the first in-person gathering of leaders of the world's biggest economies since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Stefan Rousseau / Associated Press From left: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday. The two-day Group of 20 summit is the first in-person gathering of leaders of the world's biggest economies since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

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