G2O leaders discuss ‘virtually’ impact of COVID-19 on international trade, investment

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RIYADH: The Group of 20 major economies discussed on Tuesday the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on international trade and investment and assess its impacts pursuant to the directive issued by the G20 leaders ’statement.

Led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the G20 trade minister – in a videoconference – said that they would present a Coronavirus action plan in two weeks to address the debt vulnerabilities of the poorest countries and deliver financial aid to emerging economies.

Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Saudi Minister of Commerce, highlighted this human crisis which resulted in economic decline that has not been seen since 2008.

He also emphasised the urgent need for more coordination and cooperation within the highest levels, as well as appropriate preventive measures to mitigate the impact of these regulations on health, the global economy, trade and investment.

The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors discussed how the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and the World Bank could ease a lack of liquidity in emerging markets.

In addition, the G20 countries will work with the group’s Financial Stability Board, set up after the 2008 financial crisis, to coordinate regulatory and supervisory measures taken in response to the coronavirus.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday welcomed steps already taken by G20 countries, adding “Our forecast of a recovery next year hinges on how we manage to contain the virus and reduce the level of uncertainty.”

The G20 leaders pledged last week to fund all necessary measures to stop the spread of the virus, which by Tuesday had infected around 800,000 people and killed around 39,000.

The also expressed concern about the risks to fragile countries, notably in Africa, and acknowledged a need to bolster financial safety nets.

On Monday, G20 trade ministers agreed to keep their markets open and ensure the continued flow of vital medical supplies, equipment and other essential goods.

The Saudi Minister concluded by stressing the need to strengthen cooperation between the G20 in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted the importance of careful monitoring of how the situation developed, and meeting again as necessary to agree on other measures.

The G20 comprises Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United States, India, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, the European Union, China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

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