Pandemic recovery and new climate deal sit on the G7 agenda

Photo: EPA Boris Johnson

The administration of the newly elected US president Joe Biden will join next week the talks of the G7 group of most advanced countries, Reuters reported. The first agenda for the post Donald Trump period will be focused on a new climate deal, digital taxes and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will join Friday’s online meeting with her G7 peers at which they are likely to renew promises to pursue huge stimulus programmes to facilitate the economic recovery from pandemic. It is widely expected that talks will be a lot different after the Trump slogan “America first” is no longer on the table.

Britain, which is chairing the meeting, has said the talks will provide to chance to find “global solutions” to the hammer blow dealt to the world’s economy by the pandemic. A G7 source told Reuters officials would discuss “how best to shape and respond to the phases of the global recovery from Covid-19” including support for workers and businesses in the near term while ensuring fiscal sustainability in the long term.

Other aides said there would be a discussion on coordinating fiscal stimulus among the G7 countries, which aside from the United States and Britain include Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Canada. They will also be joined by the heads of their national central banks and the European Central Bank.

Biden has proposed a further $1.9 trillion in spending and tax cuts on top of Trump’s $4 trillion. British finance minister Rishi Sunak is expected to say in March that he will borrow yet more money - after racking up the biggest ever peacetime deficit - while promising to fix the public finances after the crisis.

The meeting comes as much of the global economy continues to reel from the impact of lockdowns although vaccination programmes are raising the prospect of recovery later this year.

Britain wants to make climate change and biodiversity loss a top priority of it G7 presidency ahead of the COP26 conference it is due to host in November.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to host the first in-person summit of G7 leaders in nearly two years to discuss rebuilding from the pandemic and climate change.

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