Biden to attend his maiden G7 meeting, with focus on vaccines, economy and China
LONDON (UK) – US President Joe Biden will attend his first meeting with Group of Seven leaders on Friday to talk about plans to tackle the coronavirus, reopen the bruised world economy and confront challenges put forth by China.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Thursday that Biden “will focus on the global response to the pandemic, including vaccine production, distribution of supplies” and efforts to fight emerging infections.
He “will also discuss the global economic recovery, including the importance of all industrial countries maintaining economic support for the recovery” and “the importance of updating global roles to tackle economic challenges such as those posed by China,” Psaki said.
The call with G7 leaders at 1400 GMT is a chance for Biden to forge a new image and showcase a message of re-engagement with the world and with global institutions following four years of his predecessor’s “America First” policies.
Another new face at the meeting will be Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, will be a new face at the leaders’ virtual table, though he is famous for “doing whatever it takes” at the European Central Bank to protect the euro during the European debt crisis.
The Biden administration will pledge $4 billion for a coronavirus vaccination programme, aimed for poorer countries hoping to get access to loose bigger donations from other governments, US officials said on Thursday.
Biden, in his first major foreign policy speech as president, cast China as the “most serious competitor” of the United States.
Biden said on February 4, “We’ll confront China’s economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.”
Chinese goods will continue to have tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, but will review, as to how to proceed after a thorough review, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
The G7 of the United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada has a combined gross domestic product of about $40 trillion, which is only slightly less than half of the global economy.