Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called on Thursday for G20 leaders to boost funding for a coronavirus vaccine, resume the normal flow of goods and services as soon as possible, and help developing countries overcome the global health crisis.
His remarks came at the opening of an extraordinary video conference convened by the world’s major economies to coordinate action over the outbreak and its economic impacts, as worldwide infections exceeded 470,000 with more than 21,000 dead.
“We must have an effective and coordinated response to this pandemic and restore confidence in the global economy,” the king said.
“On the trade front, the G20 must send a strong signal to restore confidence in the global economy by resuming, as soon as possible, the normal flow of goods and services, especially vital medical supplies.”
The G20, currently chaired by Saudi Arabia, has faced criticism of a slow response to the worsening crisis, which is expected to trigger a global recession.
Some member countries have announced economic stimulus packages to offset broad suspensions of air travel and shutdowns of many businesses.
But there are growing concerns about protectionist measures being discussed or adopted as countries scramble to respond. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged G20 leaders to match a pledge by countries like Australia and Canada to keep supply chains open and avoid export controls.
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