Own Billions Program: The G7 Is Against China’s “New Silk Road”

Own Billions Program: The G7 Is Against China's "New Silk Road"

own billions program
The G7 Is Against China’s “New Silk Road”

The Western community seeks a fresh start at the G7 summit in Cornwall. States are reacting to China’s growing influence with a multi-billion dollar project for a “better world”. Also Chancellor Merkel and US President Biden also talk about “Nord Stream 2”.

The G7 group of major industrialized nations is looking to compete with China with a multi-billion dollar initiative to build infrastructure. The project is intended to be an alternative to the “New Silk Road” project launched by China in 2013, with the authoritarian-ruled country opening up new trade routes to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Titled “Build Back a Better World”, the initiative is to be anchored at the final announcement of the G7 summit in Cornwall, the southern English leisure region, on Sunday, according to the US.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met for the first time on the sidelines of the summit in Corbys Bay for personal talks with new US President Joe Biden. It was also about the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which both sides now want to settle. The chancellor said it was “on the right track”. However, a dispute between the EU and Great Britain over Brexit special rules for Northern Ireland tarnished the summit’s cohesion. The EU’s top representatives sought compliance with the agreements, with British Prime Minister Johnson, however, seeing the EU as an obligation.

For the G7, the Cornwall summit marks a new beginning in the post-US President Donald Trump era, in which his lockdown policy brought the group to the brink of split. Now the United States and other large Western democracies want to pull together again. US President Biden seeks to tie together a group of states primarily from authoritarian states such as Russia and China through a tough demarcation. The planned infrastructure program is a concrete step.

G7 wants to raise hundreds of billions

According to US estimates, some parts of the world need US$40 trillion in infrastructure. US government officials said the pandemic has made the amount even bigger. The US, along with G7 partners, the private sector and other stakeholders, collectively “soon” wanted to raise hundreds of billions for infrastructure investment in low- and middle-income countries. Implementation should be “in a transparent and sustainable manner – economically, environmentally friendly and socially”.

“It’s not about countries choosing between us and China,” said a US official. Instead, “a positive, alternative vision” should be offered that countries can choose from. This is “in contrast to the way some other countries have been dealing with infrastructure efforts”. He accused Beijing of “lack of transparency, poor environmental and labor standards” and an approach that ultimately left many countries in a worse position. Critics of the “New Silk Road” warn poor countries of debt traps, political dependence and lack of environmental protection. Often only Chinese companies are involved in this.

Nord Stream 2 discussed only briefly

The G7 group includes the USA, Great Britain and Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. This is not only the first G7 summit in Biden, but also the last with Merkel. In Corbys Bay, the two spoke primarily about Biden’s summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. There were only brief talks about Nord Stream 2, Merkel said. She agreed with Biden that it was “existential and inevitable” for Ukraine to continue participating in gas transit from Russia to Europe.

Three weeks ago, Biden’s government had partially abandoned its years of resistance to the controversial pipeline between Russia and Germany and waived sanctions against the operating company – also out of consideration for ties with Germany. A federal government delegation traveled to Washington to discuss how to proceed. After that the conversation continued. In short, it is about how Ukraine can secure billions in revenue from Russian gas transfers in the long term.

More Vaccines for Poor Countries

Combating the pandemic remained the theme of the Central Summit in Corbys Bay. Host countries Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa were also invited to discuss it in the afternoon. Latin America will be the only continent not to be represented – of all places, the continent currently suffering the most from the coronavirus pandemic.

G7 states want to help poor countries with 2.3 billion vaccine doses by the end of next year, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On the sidelines of the G7 summit, Merkel said, the G7 group has a global responsibility. A final decision was not yet available. Before the start of the summit, host Boris Johnson had set a target for the group of states to agree on the donation of one billion vaccine doses.

It was initially unclear whether the 2.3 billion vaccine doses Merkel mentioned were just donations or exports or funding the international Covax vaccination initiative. Shortly before the summit, the United States announced that it wanted to provide 500 million cans – 280 million of which, according to DPA’s information, are to be delivered by the end of the year. Britain has promised 100 million cans by the end of next year. These two countries had hardly exported vaccines till now.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had previously criticized Johnson’s donation of billions as inadequate. “A billion is very welcome. But obviously we need more than that,” he said on the sidelines of the summit. WTO chief Ngoji Okonjo-Iwela said the disparity in access to vaccines was “unacceptable”.

The question of suspending patent protection of vaccines in order to promote their production in developing countries is also controversial in the G7. Biden started the discussion and French President Emmanuel Macron is also in favor of it. Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson oppose it. If a patent was issued, other manufacturers could also produce the vaccine without a license fee, such as from the German manufacturer Biotech or the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Among other things, Merkel argues that issuing a patent could harm the quality of the vaccines produced.

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