World

G-7 leaders to discuss Covid, global minimum tax rate at first day of summit

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and other world leaders are expected to focus on the global response to the coronavirus pandemic Friday, the first day of the G-7 meeting in Cornwall, England, while making the case for democratic institutions’ unique ability to respond to economic crises and disparities, senior administration officials said.

The Group of Seven, an organization of the world’s leading industrial countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. — will also endorse a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent for companies, the White House said.

If one is enacted, an established global tax rate — which companies would have to pay regardless of where they are based — could reverse what the White House called a “race to the bottom” on international rates that has been a source of tension among countries for years.

“This U.S. priority is a critical step towards ending the decades-long race to the bottom that pushes nations to compete over who can offer the lowest tax rate to large corporations at the expense of protecting workers, investing in infrastructure, and growing the middle class,” the White House said in a fact sheet shared with reporters.

The White House added that “a global corporate minimum tax is a key part of our efforts to deliver a foreign policy for the middle class, and will help support working families everywhere.” The agreement would also pave the way to remove digital services taxes and other discriminatory taxes, the White House said.

The G-7 leaders will consider ways to amplify the impact of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights, which are reserve assets that can be used to help poorer countries with vaccination programs and efforts to recharge their economies during the pandemic.

The group will also discuss climate change, ransomware and ways to counter China, the White House said.

Biden announced Thursday that the U.S. would buy and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to countries struggling with supply. After Biden’s announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. would give at least 100 million surplus doses to countries in need.

Biden said the world leaders would announce “the full scope of our commitment” to address the pandemic Friday.

The G-7 meeting, the first in-person meeting among the countries in nearly two years because of the pandemic, will conclude Sunday. Biden will then head to Brussels for the NATO summit Monday before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

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