“I let each of my G-7 counterparts know that the United States was going to do its part. America is back at the table, ”the president said at a press conference following the meeting with American allies. “The lack of past participation and full commitment has been noticed significantly, not only by the leaders of these countries, but by the people of the G-7 countries. “
Mr Biden called the meeting, the first with the group since assuming the presidency, “extraordinary collaborative and productive,” and said ending the coronavirus pandemic and securing a “fair and inclusive” global economic recovery were the top priorities of the United States and its allies.
In a 25-page statement released on the last day of the three-day meeting, leaders of the G-7 countries – the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – pledged to crack down on the use of forced labor, the fight against ransomware and the fight against corruption while calling on China and Russia for human rights violations.
“We know that corruption undermines trust in government, siphons public resources, makes economies much less competitive and poses a threat to our security,” the president said.
Mr Biden left the summit on Sunday morning and plans to meet Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on Sunday before heading to Brussels for meetings with NATO and European Union leaders. He will complete his first trip abroad at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.
The president told reporters he agrees with Putin that US-Russian relations are at a “low point,” but acknowledged that there are areas where the two countries can work together.
“Russia has engaged in activities that we believe are against international standards, but it has also solved real problems that it will struggle to solve,” Biden said.
On the issue of forced labor, the statement said the United States and the G-7 countries “will continue to work together, including through our own available national means and multilateral institutions, to protect individuals from harm. forced labor and ensure that global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor. The group also said it “promotes our values, including calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially with regard to Xinjiang” and Hong Kong.
“I think we are in a contest, not with China per se, but a contest with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world to see if democracies can compete with them in a rapidly evolving 21st century,” said Mr. Biden. “And I think the way we act and whether we come together as democracies is going to determine whether our grandchildren will look back 15 years from now and be like, ‘Have they stepped up their efforts? Are democracies as relevant and powerful as they have been? “”
The G-7 countries have supported a 15% global minimum tax on multinational corporations “country by country” to create “a fairer tax system, fit for the 21st century and reversing a 40-year race to the bottom”.
The seven nations, the richest liberal democracies in the world, have also pledged to send 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the world.Mr. Biden said.
“The point is, we, the US contribution, are the basis for determining how we are going to treat 100 countries that are poor and struggling to find vaccines and struggling to cope with reviving their economies,” the president said. .
G-7 allies also called for “a timely, transparent, expert-led, science-based Phase II study” convened by the World Health Organization that examines the origins of COVID-19, including in China.
The president said it was crucial for the world to know whether the pandemic was the result of human contact with infected animals or the result of a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
“Lack of transparency could produce another pandemic,” he said. “We need to have access to it. The world must have access to it. “
After Sunday’s press conference, Mr Biden will have tea with Queen Elizabeth before heading to Brussels. Mr Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attended a reception with other leaders and their wives as well as members of the British Royal Family on Friday.
Bo Erickson and Fin Gomez contributed to this report.