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Steinbrück calls for global financial transaction tax at G20

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Steinbrück calls for global financial transaction tax at G20
Photo: DPA
17:00 CEST+02:00
German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück called Friday for a global tax on financial transactions as the Group of 20 developed and developing economies met in Pittsburgh.

Among the necessary responses to the financial crisis was burden sharing that included "a global financial-transaction tax" of around 0.05 percent, Steinbrück wrote in a column for the Financial Times newspaper.

He warned that people worldwide were aware of hundreds of billions of euros and dollars in public aid to banks followed by bonus payments in the financial sector that "now go hand in glove with massive job losses in the real economy.

"Financial market participants need to show they understand their role in causing the crisis and that they are willing significantly to contribute to preventing its recurrence," the German minister wrote.

He argued that the application of such a tax by all G20 and European Union members could raise up to $690 billion (€470 billion) per year, or roughly 1.4 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP).

Those countries account for about 97 percent of all exchange-traded equities and about 94 percent of exchange-traded bonds, Steinbrück said, meaning it would be hard to avoid paying the tax "if the G20 stood united."

A draft text from the G20 summit said leaders would agree that bankers' bonuses should be linked to long-term profits but the idea of a global tax on financial transactions has met stiff resistence in the past.

Several European leaders have nonetheless floated the concept again as the G20 seeks to map a way out of the global crisis.

The tax "would be just, would do no harm and would do a lot of good," Steinbrück argued, adding: "If there is a better idea for fair burden-sharing, let's hear it."

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