‘We will overcome’ coronavirus crisis, vow G20 leaders after video meeting
G20 leaders on Thursday said they were committed to presenting a united front against the coronavirus pandemic, calling it their "absolute priority" to tackle its health, social and economic impacts.
During an video conference to discuss the impact of the coronavirus crisis, leaders of the world's major economies said they were committed to restoring confidence, preserving financial stability and reviving growth.
The G20 leaders said they were committed to resolving disruptions to global supply chains and asked finance ministers and central bank governors to coordinate regularly together and with international organisations to develop an action plan in response to the pandemic.
"We are injecting over US$5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic," the leaders said in a statement after an emergency online summit.
They also pledged to work swiftly with multilateral bodies, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and regional banks, to deploy a "robust" financial package to support developing nations.
The statement came at the end of an extraordinary, 90-minute video conference convened by the world's major economies to coordinate action over the outbreak that has infected more than 470,000 people and killed more than 21,000 worldwide.
Saudi king calls for coordinated response
Speaking at the start of the virtual meeting, Saudi Arabia's King Salman called on G20 leaders to boost funding for a coronavirus vaccine, resume the normal flow of goods and services as soon as possible, and help developing countries overcome the global health crisis.
"We must have an effective and coordinated response to this pandemic," the king said. "On the trade front, the G20 must send a strong signal to restore confidence in the global economy by resuming, as soon as possible, the normal flow of goods and services, especially vital medical supplies."
The G20, currently chaired by Saudi Arabia, has faced criticism of a slow response to the worsening crisis, which is expected to trigger a global recession.
Some member countries have announced economic stimulus packages to offset broad suspensions of air travel and shutdowns of many businesses.
The US Chamber of Commerce urged G20 leaders to match a pledge by countries like Australia and Canada to keep supply chains open and avoid export controls.
Friction and blame games
King Salman urged cooperation in financing research and development for therapeutics and a vaccine, ensuring the availability of vital medical supplies and equipment, and helping less developed countries build capacities.
Chinese President Xi Jinping followed him, advocating joint macroeconomic policies to stop the world from entering recession and stabilise the global industrial supply chain by facilitating trade and removing barriers.
Despite calls for cooperation, the G20 risks entanglement in an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and frictions between the US and China over the origin of the virus.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe