FALMOUTH, England – Leaders from some of the world’s wealthiest nations were gathering Friday for their first in-person meetings since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, runs through Sunday. Talks encompass measures to globally distribute COVID-19 vaccines, climate change and shared security concerns from cyberattacks to China’s geopolitical rise.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden held a pre-summit meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They discussed the durability of U.S.-U.K. relationship and Johnson sought to allay concerns in Washington over how Britain’s exit from the European Union – Brexit – could impact a decades-old peace treaty in Northern Ireland.
Here’s how day one of the G-7 is shaping up:
A global economy, but fairer
Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are expected to endorse a plan to ensure a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%. This is to prevent large companies such as Amazon and Apple from paying little-to-no-tax on their overseas earnings.
Biden has characterized the initiative as an illustration of how his administration is seeking to protect the interests of the American middle class. He wants to use the tax revenue to invest in infrastructure projects.
More vaccines for everybody else
The U.S. and U.K. have some of the highest coronavirus vaccination rates in the world. Johnson has said G-7 leaders in Cornwall will be asked this week to donate 1 billion vaccines in total to poorer countries over the next year. On Friday, there will be more discussion on how to meet that goal after Biden ahead of the summit pledged to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to nearly 100 lower income countries and the African Union. And Johnson said his country would gift more than 100 million doses, likely of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
When Joe met Boris:4 takeaways from Joe Biden’s first meeting with Boris Johnson
“High income countries have stockpiled far more vaccine doses than they need even though COVID-19 is a global problem which cannot be dealt with effectively unless we act as a global community, and this means protecting everyone everywhere,” said Helen Lambert, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Bristol, England.