G-7 summit opens with pandemic talks
MAGWAN PORTH, England – President Joe Biden joined leaders of other major democracies on the white sands of Carbis Bay in England on Friday, posing for the traditional ‘family photo’ and opening their annual Group of Seven summit with meetings focused primarily on ending the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meeting for the first time in two years after the pandemic caused the cancellation of last year’s summit in the United States, leaders have spent their first day looking to scale up the global immunization campaign. Heads of state aim to donate at least a billion doses of vaccine, half of which come from the United States, to low-income countries where the coronavirus continues to spread.
Biden, keen to show the world on his first overseas trip as president that the United States wants to play a global leadership role again, has pledged to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and to donate them to COVAX, the organization that manages vaccine distribution efforts around the world. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the G-7 summit, has announced that his country will donate 100 million doses.
France and Germany each plan to give 30 million doses by the end of the year, their leaders said. To achieve the target, that would leave 340 million doses to be provided by members of the G-7: Canada, Japan, Italy and representatives of the European Union to 27 countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the group’s commitments and discussions during the three-day summit would show the world that “we don’t just think about ourselves”. Merkel, who is months away from the end of her 15-year term as chancellor, will visit Biden in the White House in July, the administration said on Friday.
“We are going to help pull the world out of this pandemic, by working alongside our global partners,” Biden said Thursday evening, noting that the vaccines donated, unlike those that Russia and China have distributed to countries in need. , are delivered without conditions or strings attached.
The pressure to help underdeveloped countries has continued to intensify on the richest countries of the world, especially as they begin to bring the pandemic under control within their borders.
The United States will begin shipping doses to other countries in August, with 200 million vaccines expected to be distributed by the end of the year and an additional 300 million doses in the first half of 2022. Because two doses of Pfizer vaccine are needed to inoculate an individual, US contributions will be enough to vaccinate 250 million people. Several billion people are still not vaccinated around the world.
Johnson, in a statement, said the commitments of other G-7 member countries were key to ensuring the world can “rebuild better from the coronavirus,” adopting Biden’s national economic slogan for the international agenda. The two leaders met Thursday to reaffirm the long partnership of their countries.
In a working session on Friday, heads of state discussed other aspects of the G-7’s response to the pandemic, including efforts to support public health systems and emergency medical care in underserved countries. The United States previously authorized $ 11.5 billion for the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the $ 1.9 trillion economic relief plan that Biden signed into law in March.
G-7 leaders are also discussing stepping up efforts to tackle climate change. And they will officially adopt a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15%, a deal struck a week ago by countries’ finance ministers in meetings in London. The new minimum tax, a priority for Biden, aims to discourage high-tech giants and other multinational companies from setting up in countries that are tax havens.
Biden sees the global minimum tax as a way for struggling countries to raise revenue to fund infrastructure projects, making them less dependent on funding openings from China as that country seeks to expand its global influence.
The tax could also serve as an alternative to taxes on digital services that some European countries have imposed and which largely affect US technology companies.
But the approval of the G-7 is far from the last step towards a comprehensive minimum corporate tax. In the United States, change requires congressional approval, and Republicans have indicated they oppose any tax increase.
Later on Friday, world leaders met with Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family – heir to the throne, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, as well as his son and daughter-in-law Prince William and Catherine , The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The event took place at the Eden Project, a lush, dome-shaped ecotourism site built in a former quarry, and was followed by an official welcome dinner.
The Queen is expected to welcome President and First Lady Jill Biden to Windsor Castle on Sunday, after the summit concludes and before Biden travels to Brussels for a summit with NATO leaders, and then to Geneva for a meeting on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II spoke with US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill on Friday during a reception with G-7 leaders at Project Eden in Cornwall, England, during the summit of G-7.