Frydenberg to press G20 on free trade amid virus concerns


“I will ensure Australia’s economic interests are protected and our successes recognised, while reaffirming our commitment to an open, free, rules-based trading system as a means to higher economic growth, more jobs and greater investment,” he said.

“I will send the clear message that this has been the lesson for the Australian economy in
the past and that this will guide us in the future.”‘

While Mr Frydenberg will press nations on free trade, the coronavirus outbreak will be among the first issues discussed by ministers and central bankers.

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Federal Treasury is still trying to determine the impact of the virus on the Australian economy. Anecdotal evidence has already suggested it is hitting the tourism, education and retail sectors with a string of companies warning it will affect their bottom lines.

This week Qantas said it expected a $150 million hit to profits with the airline slashing services across Asia while also cutting some flights in Australia and to New Zealand.

Mr Frydenberg will have a series of bilateral meetings while in Riyadh. They will include US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The Treasurer said the meeting, to be held over the weekend, would also allow countries to discuss the “tax challenges arising from digitalisation”.

Some countries have sought to impose their own taxes on digital services, prompting threats of financial retaliation from the United States.



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