G7 leaders agree on vaccines, China and corporate taxation – –

G7 leaders agree on vaccines, China and corporate taxation – –

CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND – Leaders of the Wealthy Group of Seven Nations on Sunday claimed their will to pull the world out of the pandemic and the coronavirus crisis, promising more than a billion doses of coronavirus vaccine to poorer countries , promising to help developing countries develop while fighting climate change and supporting a minimum tax on multinational companies.

In the group’s first face-to-face meeting in two years, leaders dangled pledges of support for global health, green energy, infrastructure and education.

The leaders wanted to show that international cooperation is back after the upheavals caused by the pandemic and the unpredictability of former US President Donald Trump. And they wanted to make it clear that the club of wealthy democracies – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US – is a better friend of poorer nations than rivals. authoritarian like China.

Speaking at the end of the three-day summit in southwest England, US President Joe Biden, who was on his first overseas trip as a leader, said it was ‘an “extraordinary, collaborative and productive meeting”.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the summit, praised the “fantastic degree of harmony” within the group.

Johnson said the G7 would demonstrate the value of democracy and human rights to the rest of the world and help “the world’s poorest countries to develop in a clean, green and sustainable way.”

“It’s not enough for us to rest on our laurels and talk about the importance of these values,” he told reporters after the three-day meeting on the Cornwall coast. “And it’s not about imposing our values ​​on the rest of the world. What we need to do, as the G7, is demonstrate the benefits of democracy, freedom and human rights to the rest of the world. “

But health and environmental activists were clearly not impressed with the details of the leaders’ final statement.

“This G-7 summit will live in infamy,” said Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at the international aid group Oxfam. “Faced with the biggest health emergency in a century and a climate catastrophe that is destroying our planet, they have completely failed to meet the challenges of our time. “

Despite Johnson’s call to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022, the promise of one billion doses for vaccine-hungry countries – coming both directly and through the international COVAX program – is well underway. below the 11 billion doses of the World Health Organization. said is needed to immunize at least 70% of the world’s population and truly end the pandemic.

Half of the pledge of a billion doses comes from the United States and 100 million from Great Britain. Canada has said it will also give 100 million doses, and France has pledged 60 million.

The vaccines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2022, but Biden said leaders were clear that the commitments they made to donate doses would not be the end.

The US president has said firing gunfire around the world is a “gigantic logistical effort” and the target may not be reached until 2023.

The G-7 also supported a minimum tax of at least 15% on large multinational corporations to prevent companies from using tax havens to avoid taxes.

The minimum rate has been championed by the United States and aligns with President Joe Biden’s goal of focusing the summit on ways democracies can support a fairer global economy by working together.

Biden also wanted to persuade his fellow Democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing and firmly denounce China’s “non-market policies and human rights abuses”.

The language about China in the statement from G-7 leaders at the meeting was quieter than that used by the United States, but Biden said he was satisfied. In the statement released on Sunday, the group said, “With respect to China and competition in the global economy, we will continue to consult on collective approaches to challenge non-market policies and practices that undermine fair functioning and transparency of the global economy. . “

The leaders also said they would assert their values ​​by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of committing serious human rights violations against the Uyghur minority, and in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.

Johnson, the host of the summit, wanted the three-day meeting to fly the flag of a “global Britain”, his government’s pressure to give the midsize country disproportionate global influence.

Yet Brexit cast a shadow over that goal at the summit on England’s southwest coast. European Union leaders and US President Joe Biden have raised concerns over issues over new UK-EU trade rules that have exacerbated tensions in Northern Ireland.

But overall the mood was positive: leaders smiled for the cameras on cliff-lined Carbis Bay beach, a village and resort town that became a crowded fortress for the reunion. The last G-7 summit was in France in 2019, with last year’s event in the United States being scuttled by the pandemic.

The leaders mingled with Queen Elizabeth II at a royal reception on their first night and were served steak and lobster at a beach barbecue after attending a Red Arrows flight show from the Royal Air Force on their second night.

The allies of the United States were visibly relieved to find the United States as a committed international actor after the “America First” policy of the Trump administration.

Johnson called Biden a “breath of fresh air.” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the president “wanted to rebuild what were the traditional alliances of the United States after the Trump era, during which these alliances were seriously cracked.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel, attending her last G-7 summit as leader of Germany – she is expected to step down after elections later this year – said the message of the meeting was: “We want to act , we want to act for a better world. “

“We know after the pandemic that this is more necessary than ever,” Merkel said.

Biden flew from the top of Carbis Bay to have tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. He is due to attend a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday and meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

The G-7 also made ambitious statements at their meetings on educating girls, preventing future pandemics and funding greener infrastructure globally.

On climate change, the “Build Back Better for the World” plan promises to provide funding for infrastructure – “from railways in Africa to wind farms in Asia” – to help accelerate the global shift to renewable energy. The plan is a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which has increased Beijing’s global influence.

All G-7 countries have pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but many environmentalists say it will be too little, too late.

Naturalist David Attenborough addressed leaders via video on Sunday, warning that humanity is “on the verge of destabilizing the entire planet.”

“If so, then the decisions we make this decade – especially the decisions made by the most economically advanced countries – are the most important in human history,” the veteran documentary filmmaker said.

As leaders gathered behind fences and barbed wire, environmental protesters gathered throughout the weekend outside the Steel Circle to accuse the G-7 of missing a chance to prevent a climate catastrophe.

Large crowds of surfers and kayakers took to the sea in a mass protest to demand better protections for the world’s oceans, as thousands drummed as they marched past the media center of the summit at Falmouth.

“The G-7 is greenwashing,” sang the demonstrators. “We are drowned in promises, now is the time to act. “


Lawless, Kirka and Hui reported from Falmouth, England. Nicole Winfield in Rome and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed.


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