Biden to debut at G7 with vaccines, economy and China in focus By Reuters

Saudi crown prince meets with US presidential adviser Kushner: state news agency

© Reuters. US President Joe Biden meets with union leaders at the White House in Washington.

By William James and Guy Faulconbridge LONDON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden will attend his first meeting with the leaders of the Group of Seven on Friday to discuss plans to defeat the coronavirus, reopen the ailing global economy and counteract the challenges posed by China. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed 2.4 million people, pushed the global economy into its worst peacetime recession since the Great Depression, and disrupted the normal lives of billions. Biden “will focus on the global response to the pandemic, including vaccine production, distribution of supplies” and efforts to combat emerging infections, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. 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 face economic challenges like those posed by China,” Psaki said. The call with the G7 leaders at 1400 GMT is an opportunity for Biden, a Democrat who took office from Republican Donald Trump on January 20, to project a message of reencounter with the world and with global institutions after four years of his predecessor’s “America First” policies. In addition to Biden, Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, will be a new face at the virtual table of leaders, although he is famous for “doing whatever it takes” at the European Central Bank to save the euro during the crisis of European debt. VACCINE DRIVE Britain, which holds the rotating G7 presidency and is trying to reformulate itself as a post-Brexit rule-based international system administrator, will ask members to help accelerate the development of future vaccines to 100 days. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is eager to build ties with Biden, who did not support Brexit and who, as a presidential candidate, publicly warned Britain last year not to endanger the peace in Ireland. Johnson has said that he is interested in the idea of ​​a global pandemic treaty to ensure proper transparency after the COVID-19 outbreak that originated in China. The Biden administration will commit $ 4 billion to a coronavirus vaccination program for poorer countries in hopes of getting larger donations from other governments, US officials said Thursday. Britain, which has pledged 548 million pounds ($ 766 million) to the COVAX program co-led by the World Health Organization, will ask other G7 partners to contribute more. CHINA China will also be on the agenda. In his first major foreign policy speech as president, Biden called China the “most serious competitor” of the United States. “We will confront China’s economic abuses; we will counter its aggressive and coercive action; to repulse China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance,” Biden said on February 4. The United States will keep the tariffs on Chinese Trump administration goods in effect for now, but will assess how to proceed after a thorough review, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. The G7 of the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada have a combined gross domestic product of about $ 40 trillion, a little less than half of the world economy. ($ 1 = 0.7155 pounds)