Ireland – European home to tech giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft – said it was willing to “compromise” on global minimum tax rates.
Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s finance minister, on Friday told CNBC that the country would “engage” in tax-rate negotiations “very intensely.”
“…and I do hope an agreement can be reached that does recognize the role of legitimate tax competition for smaller and medium-sized economies,” Donohoe said.
The Group of Seven wealthy nations this month agreed to a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate, higher than Ireland’s 12.5%. President Joe Biden’s administration pushed the agreement, saying it would be “a critical step towards ending the decades-long race to the bottom” on corporate tax rates.
Ireland has long attracted multinational corporations seeking a European outpost with favorable rates, sometimes at the frustration of its European neighbors. Apple in 2016 was targeted by the European Commission, which said the company needed to pay back taxes of about $15 billion. Apple appealed.
Big Tech this month mostly said it welcomed a uniform global rate.
“Facebook has long called for reform of the global tax rules and we welcome the important progress made at the G7,” Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs at Facebook, told Insider.
As the G7 tax agreement was announced, Donohoe said on Twitter that there were 139 countries that would eventually be involved in such a tax agreement. As such, it would have to work for small and large nations, he said. Developing and wealthy nations would all have to agree, he said.
“It is in everyone’s interest to achieve a sustainable, ambitious and equitable agreement on the international tax architecture,” he said at the time.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was seen correcting US President Joe Biden at this weekend’s G7 Summit in Cornwall, England, after the president interrupted him to wrongly suggest that Johnson had failed to introduce South Africa’s president at a roundtable of world leaders.
Johnson appeared to twice wave away Biden’s interruptions on Saturday, while he was hosting a roundtable of world leaders at the G7 summit.
The UK prime minister welcomed India’s prime minister Narendra Modi via video-link and then introduced South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, who joined the leaders of the G7 grouping, which comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“And the president of South Africa,” Biden added to Johnson.
“And the president of South Africa, as I said earlier on,” Johnson replied.
“Oh, you did,” Biden said.
“I did, I certainly did,” Johnson said.
It was not clear from footage of the incident whether Biden had not heard Johnson introduced President Ramaphosa or whether he was unaware of his name and therefore had not realized that Johnson had already introduced him.
World leaders agreed at the summit – the major first in-person meeting of the G7 since the coronavirus pandemic – to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries over the next 12 months.
They also agreed to take more action on climate change and renewed a pledge to raise $100 billion a year to help poor countries cut carbon emissions.
However, some charities and campaign groups said the commitments were vague in their wording did not go far enough.
“Never in the history of the G7 has there been a bigger gap between their actions and the needs of the world,” said Oxfam’s head of inequality policy Max Lawson in a statement cited by the Guardian.
“We don’t need to wait for history to judge this summit a colossal failure, it is plain for all to see.”
Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, world leaders met in person for the first time since the coronavirus shut down travel.
The seven world leaders — German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and US President Joe Biden — met on a seaside resort in Cornwall, England.
It was the first time the heads of these countries met in person since the pandemic shut down travel more than a year ago. The G7 leaders last met in person in France in August 2019, nearly two years ago.
In addition to the seven countries normally present, others like South Africa, South Korea, India, and Australia received invitations to attend virtually the 47th Summit.
In the spirit of gathering and collaboration, the G7 leaders talked through strategies to end the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our international priority is to accelerate the rollout of safe and effective, accessible and affordable vaccines for the poorest countries, noting the role of extensive immunization as a global public good,” the leaders said in a statement published on Sunday.
They promised to also help countries around the world develop technology that can manufacture and disseminate vaccines quicker.
When asked about the expected timeline to end the pandemic on a global scale, Biden said “it might take slightly longer” than 2022.
“Yes, definitely,” Macron said. “It’s great to have a US president who’s part of the club and very willing to cooperate. What you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership.”
Biden indicated his agreement. “The United States, I’ve said before, we’re back,” the US president said. “Things are going, I think, well, and we’re, as we say back in the States, we’re on the same page.”
An aide informed her that there was a standard knife available to cut the cake. But the Queen insisted she use the sword.
“I know there is,” she told the aide. “This is more unusual.”
After the first slice using the sword, she then cut the rest of the cake with a regular knife.
World leaders single out Russia and China.
The world leaders presented a united front against Russia and China, vowing to condemn human-rights abuses and political tactics that stray from their economic and international visions.
Biden, for example, rebuked China for human-rights abuses. “I think China has to start to act more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency,” he said. “Transparency matters across the board.”
In a press briefing, a senior US administration official said the six other leaders maintain “a very strong and shared foundation” in their approach to China. The seven leaders also promised to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Later, China clapped back, saying “the days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone.”
On Russia, Biden said US relations with Moscow have reached a “low point.”
“Russia has engaged in activities which we believe are contrary to international norms, but they have also bitten off some real problems they’re going to have trouble chewing on,” Biden said.
Leaders agree on a plan to phase out gasoline cars.
Aside from the coronavirus, G7 leaders focused on advancing climate change measures.
Among them is a proposal to phase out gasoline and diesel cars. The leaders vowed to end “almost all direct government support” for fossil fuels and halt “all unabated coal as soon as possible.”
In an effort to extend this proposal beyond the G7, world leaders agreed to allocate $2 billion to help developing countries to seek out other options besides coal, a statement from the White House said.
Despite the heavy focus away from fossil fuels, world leaders, including Biden, did not set a concrete date for the end of coal use, which contributes directly to global warming.
Biden met the Queen for the first time as president.
China said that the time of a “small” group of countries has authority over global decisions is “long gone,” as a warning to Group of Seven leaders on Sunday.
“The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone,” a spokesperson for the China embassy in London told Reuters.
The spokesperson continued: “We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries,” according to the report.
“Ganging up, pursuing bloc politics, and forming small cliques are unpopular and doomed to fail,” Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson previously said, as Insider Kevin Shalvey reported.
The G7 also discussed how to overcome the pandemic on a global scale and revamp their economies including calling “for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”
The Group of Seven (G7) leaders on Sunday expressed support for a “transparent” investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, while also seeking ways to better prepare for future pandemics.
President Joe Biden joined the leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan in signing a joint summit communiqué that addressed everything from strategies to end the current pandemic to a guideline for combatting climate change and an examination of international law regarding online safety and hate speech.
The international leaders are pushing for “a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”
The G7 also committed to giving 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need as they continue to weather the pandemic.
In recent weeks, the debate over the origins of the coronavirus has become a huge issue among US lawmakers and several health experts who question if the coronavirus possibly originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.
However, China has refuted the claim, and Republicans have been critical of involvement by the World Health Organization regarding any possible investigation.
Last month, Biden asked for the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” in ascertaining the origins of the coronavirus after it was revealed that there was COVID-19 evidence that had not yet been analyzed, according to The New York Times
At the time, the president also requested a report on the findings to be issued in three months.
Last year’s in-person G7 summit was set to be held at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden this weekend worked to rally the Group of Seven to offer a collective rebuke to China over forced labor, human-rights abuses, and other “non-market” practices.
The leaders on Saturday found they had a “very strong and shared foundation” for a joint approach to China, a senior US administration official said in a press briefing.
“And more than just speaking out, taking action, responding to forced-labor in supply chains, again, including from Xinjiang,” the official said, referencing a region where human rights groups say China has committed crimes against humanity.
Biden has made slowing China’s growing economic power and international reach the centerpiece of his foreign policy agenda for his first overseas summit. The G7 nations – US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the EU – yesterday announced a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure plan to rival the international spending of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Senior US officials, who spoke to the press on the condition of anonymity, detailed areas where the US and its allies were seeing “convergence” during Saturday’s talks in Carbis Bay, England.
The administration said Biden had urged other G7 members to speak out about China’s “practices that are harmful and distorted to the global economy.”
Biden spoke about China in his breakout one-on-one sessions with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and French President Emmanuel Macron, according to official readouts.
But it was unclear whether Biden would be able to steer the group to include the type of strong, disapproving language the US favors in the official G7 communiqué, which is expected after the summit wraps on Sunday.
Some senior UK officials, for example, have sought to keep human-rights abuses in China off the table, partly because the UK has worked to build up trade with China, Politico reported.
Officials from Italy, Germany, and the EU also each expressed concern on Saturday about putting stress on their economic ties to China, The New York Times reported.
Japan in April expressed similar concern during a White House visit, The Washington Post reported.
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London told Reuters that the “days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone.”
The spokesperson said: “We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries.”
President Joe Biden and the G7 member states on Saturday planned to announce a multibillion-dollar initiative to build infrastructure overseas, a direct challenge to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
“There is, by some estimates, a $40 trillion infrastructure gap in parts of the world that this would be intended to help other countries fill,” said a senior US administration official, who spoke about the plans on the condition of anonymity.
Biden and his G7 counterparts planned to announce the initiative during a working session focused on China on Saturday, the second day of the summit in Carbis Bay, England.
The Biden administration and international allies planned to “soon be collectively catalyzing hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries that need it,” the official said.
The plan would place the wealthy G7 nations – US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the EU – in competition with Beijing’s spending on international infrastructure.
Under President Xi Jinping, China spearheaded a new “Silk Road” initiative to build or improve transportation networks throughout Asia and reaching into Europe.
The trillions of dollars spent so far by Beijing have increased the country’s ability to ship goods, while also building international goodwill.
US officials on Friday said the G7 spending wouldn’t be about “making countries choose between us and china,” but would instead be about “offering an affirmative, alternative vision and approach that they would want to choose.”
Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said of the G7 plans, “Ganging up, pursuing bloc politics, and forming small cliques are unpopular and doomed to fail.”
Biden’s White House was calling the initiative “Build Back Better for the World,” expanding on Biden’s 2020 campaign tagline of “Build Back Better.” An official called it “B3W” as a shorthand.
The White House and its G7 partners have “long been skeptical about China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” a second senior administration official said.
“We’ve seen the Chinese government demonstrate a lack of transparency, poor environmental and labor standards, and a course of approach that’s left many countries worse off,” the official said. “But until now, we haven’t offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards, and our way of doing business.”
A White House press plane was delayed for more than 6 hours on Tuesday night after thousands of cicadas swarmed the aircraft, CNN reported.
The plane, which was due to take off from Washington’s Dulles International Airport at 9 p.m. ET, was laid on to transport US reporters covering the G7 summit, which runs from June 11 to June 13 in Cornwall, UK.
But their flight was delayed after cicadas invaded exterior sections of the plane, CNN reported.
Airline bosses have called the opening of a travel corridor between the US and UK amid both countries’ “world-leading vaccination programmes” in a joint statement released Monday.
The chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and JetBlue joined British carriers Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways in urging President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift travel restrictions between the two countries.
The bosses of the US Travel Association and London’s Heathrow Airport also joined the call ahead of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, England this week.
“There is a clear opportunity to safely open up travel between these two low-risk countries,” the statement said.
The group urged the US government to allow fully vaccinated UK travelers, or those who can show a negative COVID-19 test, to enter the country.
The US is on the UK’s “amber list” for travel, meaning that visitors arriving from the US into the country must quarantine for 10 days, and take two COVID-19 tests.
“Experts have encouraged governments, businesses and the public to follow the science,” United CEO Scott Kirby said. “United and other airlines have done that and implemented the necessary safety protocols to re-open key international routes like the air corridor between our two countries. We are ready.”
Airlines posted record losses in 2020 after the pandemic forced them to suspend international travel. American Airlines reported a $8.9 billion annual loss in 2020.