Biden to speak at virtual meeting of world’s major economies

Joe Biden exits his presidential helicopter
Joe Biden exits his presidential helicopter (AP)
1:31am, Mon 15 Feb 2021
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President Joe Biden will speak at a virtual meeting of the world’s major economies on Friday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and global vaccination distribution, according to the White House.

Mr Biden is expected to speak about the need for a global response to the pandemic and to recommit the US to multi-lateral engagement, a stark contrast from President Donald Trump, who developed an isolationist foreign policy that saw the US withdraw from major global agreements and alliances.

Since entering office, Mr Biden has reversed many of Mr Trump’s isolationist moves, including by rejoining the World Health Organisation.

During his appearance at the G7 meeting on Friday, Mr Biden will emphasise the need for global coordination on vaccine production, distribution and supplies, as well as global efforts to prepare for and protect against future pandemics.

Donald Trump (PA Wire)

He will also discuss the need for industrialised nations to ensure their economic recovery “is inclusive and benefits all workers, including women and members of historically disadvantaged groups”, the White House said in a statement.

The US has also pledged to join the Covax initiative, which is aimed at producing and distributing vaccines to developing countries.

Mr Biden will also discuss the need to update global rules “to tackle economic challenges such as those posed by China”, the White House said. Mr Biden has pushed for the US and its allies to negotiate a new trade pact to counter China’s influence in the region.

The G7 event marks Mr Biden’s first major multilateral engagement as president and a return to the diplomacy that characterised so much of his tenure as vice president.

On the same day, Mr Biden is set to participate in a “special edition” of the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of global leaders focused on defence.

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