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Coronavirus set to top agenda at G20 meet

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Coronavirus set to top agenda at G20 meet

Coronavirus set to top agenda at G20 meet

The impact of the new coronavirus outbreak on global growth will be a key issue at this weekend’s meeting of G20 finance leaders.

Ciara Lee reports


Coronavirus set to top agenda at G20 meet

The coronavirus could dominate this weekend's meeting of G20 finance ministers.

The outbreak has killed more than 2,200 people in mainland China, and paralysed the world's second-biggest economy.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says it's set to top the agenda at the meeting, which opens on Saturday (February 22) in Saudi Arabia.

A draft summit communique seen by Reuters predicts a modest uptick in global growth this year - but names the virus as a downside risk.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz was asked Friday (February 21) if ministers and central bankers would discuss an international action plan to shield the global economy.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on CORONAVIRUS IMPACT): "We have to be ready to act if necessary, but for now we are still monitoring developments and we just have to agree that we have to tackle joint problems together." That as French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire said coronavirus would dampen growth.

And suggested France must reduce its dependence on China.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "I really think that we have to take this situation of the epidemic to ask ourselves about our strategic dependence in terms of supply for certain industrial sectors.

I've talked about the automobile industry.

I also want to talk about the health industry.

You know that 80 percent of raw materials for active components for medicines come from China or from Asia." Financial leaders of the world's 20 largest economies will also focus on tax at the gathering.

Particularly the question of whether to introduce a global minimum rate for companies and new rules for tech giants.

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