Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations staked their claim Sunday to leading the world out of the coronavirus pandemic and crisis, pledging more than 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer nations, vowing to help developing countries grow while fighting climate change and backing a minimum tax on multinational firms. At the group’s first face-to-face meeting in two years, the leaders dangled promises of support for global health, green energy, infrastructure and education — all to demonstrate that international cooperation is back after the upheavals caused by the pandemic and the unpredictability of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
During their three-day summit in southwest England, the G-7 leaders wanted to convey that the club of wealthy democracies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — is a better friend to poorer nations than authoritarian rivals such as China. U.S. President Joe Biden, who was making his first foreign trip as leader, said it was an “extraordinary, collaborative and productive meeting” that showed “America’s back in the business of leading the world alongside nations who share our most deeply held values.”
Despite Johnson’s call to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022, the promise of 1 billion doses for vaccine-hungry countries — coming both directly and through donations to the international COVAX program — falls far short of the 11 billion doses the World Health Organization said is needed to vaccinate at least 70% of the world’s population and truly end the pandemic.
But Biden said the leaders were clear that the commitments they made to donate doses wouldn’t be the end. The U.S. president said getting shots into arms around the world was a “gigantic, logistical effort” and the goal might not be accomplished until 2023.
The G-7 also backed a minimum tax of at least 15% on large multinational companies to stop corporations from using tax havens to avoid taxes, a move championed by the United States. Biden also wanted to persuade fellow democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing and strongly call out China’s “nonmarket policies and human rights abuses.”