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German finance minister rejects Brazil's proposal to tax super-rich

Weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -German Finance Minister Christian Lindner rejected on Thursday Brazil's proposal to tax the super-rich, indicating a challenging path for it to gain widespread G20 support.

"We do not think it is suitable," he said at a press conference alongside Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel in Washington. "We have an appropriate taxation of income."

Brazil, heading the presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20), is aiming to build international consensus on the taxation of wealth this year, and is pushing for a joint declaration at a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in July.

The topics mentioned in a joint statement from the group of the world's 20 largest economies require the agreement of all member countries.

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Speaking after meeting U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday, Brazil's Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said of Lindner's opposition to the proposal: "He will change (his mind)."

Sanders said he "strongly" supports the proposal and will do everything possible to get the Biden administration to embrace it.

Brazil's Haddad also met on Thursday with his Chinese counterpart Lan Fo'An and, according to a source at the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Chinese government demonstrated openness and interest in studying the proposal.

But the Brazilian government is aware that other countries like Japan and Italy have shown resistance to the initiative, added the source.

While Germany's Lindner is sceptical about the proposal, his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, has shown support for it.

On Wednesday, Le Maire said that moving to tax the rich was the logical next step for a series of global taxation reforms launched in 2017, including agreement on a global corporate minimum tax.

He said the G20 should aim to reach an agreement on taxing the rich by 2027.

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer and Maria Martinez; additional reporting by Marcela Ayres; Editing by Rachel More, Madeline Chambers, Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci)