CARBIS BAY, England (AP) — World leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to share at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world — half the doses coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K.
Vaccine sharing commitments from President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the stage for the G-7 leaders' meeting in southwest England, where leaders will pivot Friday from opening greetings and a “family photo” directly into a session on “Building Back Better From COVID-19.”
“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” Biden said, adding that the G-7 nations would join the U.S. in outlining their vaccine donation commitments at the three-day summit. The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The leaders meeting in the resort of Carbis Bay hope to energize the global economy as well. On Friday they are set to formally embrace a global minimum tax of at least 15% on corporations, seconding an agreement reached a week ago at a meeting of their finance ministers. The minimum is meant to stop companies from using tax havens and other tools to avoid taxes.
It represents a potential win for the Biden administration, which has proposed a global minimum tax as a way to pay for infrastructure projects, in addition to creating an alternative that could remove some European countries’ digital services taxes that largely hit U.S. tech firms.
For Johnson, the first G-7 summit in two years — last year's was scuttled by the pandemic — is a chance to set out his vision of a post-Brexit “Global Britain” as a midsized country with an outsized role in international problem-solving.
It's also an opportunity to underscore the U.K-U.S. bond, an alliance often called the “special relationship.”
After a meeting with Biden that both sides hailed as a success, Johnson said he prefers the term “indestructible relationship.”
The official summit business starts Friday, with the customary formal greeting and a socially distanced group photo. Later the leaders will meet Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals at the Eden Project, a lush, domed eco-tourism site built in a former quarry pit
The G-7 leaders have faced mounting pressure to outline their global vaccine-sharing plans, especially as inequities in supply around the world have become more pronounced. In the U.S., there is a large vaccine stockpile and the demand for shots has dropped precipitously in recent weeks.
Biden said the U.S. will donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and previewed a coordinated effort by the advanced economies to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere. The commitment was on top of 80 million doses Biden has already pledged to donate by the end of June.
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