G-7 nations gather to pledge 1 bn vaccine doses for world

G-7 nations gather to pledge 1 bn vaccine doses for world

Carbis Bay: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson greeted world leaders on a wooden boardwalk on the freshly raked sand of Carbis Bay to open the Group of Seven summit Friday, offering elbow bumps to dignitaries gathering for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus was set to dominate their discussions, with leaders of the wealthy democracies club expected to commit to sharing at least 1 billion vaccine shots with struggling countries.

A commitment from US President Joe Biden to share 500 million doses and one from Johnson for another 100 million shots set the stage for the G-7 meeting in southwest England, where the focus is 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. The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The leaders hope the meeting in the resort of Carbis Bay will also energise the global economy. On Friday, they are set to formally embrace a global minimum tax of at least 15 per cent on corporations, following an agreement reached a week ago by 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. But the endorsement from the G-7 is just one step in the process; the hope is to get many more countries to sign on, and that could be particularly difficult in nations that depend on a low corporate tax base to survive. 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 UK-US bond, an alliance often called the special relationship but that Johnson said he prefers to call the indestructible relationship.

Climate change is also a top issue on the agenda, and hundreds of protesters gathered in Cornwall to urge the leaders to take action.

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