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G-20 Set to Pledge to Ensure Fair Distribution of Vaccines

Eric Martin
·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Leaders of the world’s biggest economies will on Sunday dedicate themselves to financing equal access to Covid-19 testing, treatments and vaccines, and encourage bondholders to provide private relief to poor countries, according to a draft of their statement.

Referring to medicines and vaccines, the Group of 20 will vow to “spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitments to incentivize innovation,” according to the draft obtained by Bloomberg News. “We recognize the role of extensive immunization as a global public good.”

The battle to counter the pandemic dominated the first day of a virtual summit of G-20 nations on Saturday, hosted by Saudi Arabia. U.S. President Donald Trump stayed quiet on sharing vaccines made by the country with other nations. He later told his counterparts that any American who wants the vaccine will be able to get it, and singled out U.S. producers Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., according to officials who asked not to be named discussing the talks, which weren’t open to the press.

Trump praised American leadership, claiming credit for what he said was an efficient fight against the virus and success in bolstering the nation’s economy. But he said nothing about granting access to American vaccines to the rest of the world.

The G-20 leaders will also acknowledge a lack of participation by private creditors in the group’s debt relief plan, known as the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, and will “strongly encourage” them to participate on comparable terms to official bilateral creditors, according to the communique draft. They also plan to encourage multilateral development banks to do more to support the initiative, which last month was extended through June.

Governments will recognize that debt treatments beyond the initiative may be required on a case-by-case basis given the scale of the crisis, citing the “significant debt vulnerabilities and deteriorating outlook” in many low-income countries. The G-20 will endorse the Common Framework for debt treatments beyond the plan, according to the draft.

Reuters earlier reported the G-20 plans.

The common framework between the G-20 -- which includes China -- and the Paris Club, a grouping of mostly western government creditors, was completed at a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers earlier this month. The new set of principles, inspired by those of the Paris Club, aims to bolster the participation of China and private lenders in debt relief to more than 70 of the world’s poorest countries.

Over the last decade, China and private commercial creditors have become the biggest lenders to countries across the developing world, many of which are now reeling from the pandemic. China is the world’s largest official creditor and was owed almost 60% of the bilateral debt that the poorest nations were due to repay this year.

(Updates with report on Trump comments starting in third paragraph.)

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