G20 Summit Sees Leaders Commit To $5 Trillion In Fiscal Spending To Keep Global Economy Running

U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders arrive for the group photo on the first day of the G20 economic summit
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact markets around the world, leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) economies pledged Thursday to funnel $5 trillion into the global economy to combat such effects and battle the pandemic, Reuters reported.

“Emergency measures aimed at protecting health will be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary,” the leaders said in a statement that Reuters reported contained the “most conciliatory language on trade” the group has used in years.

According to the statement, G20 leaders committed to $5 trillion on top of other economic measures, including credit guarantee schemes. In addition, the group pledged to coordinate global responses amid export bans on medical supplies, and expressed concern for fragile regions like Africa and vulnerable populations like refugees.

“We are strongly committed to presenting a united front against this common threat.”

The G20 leaders also used the call to request support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group to aid “countries in need using all instruments to the fullest extent.”

The statement comes after a videoconference summit that Reuters claims showed “more unity” than any other time since the 2008 financial crisis. In his opening remarks, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who is chairing this year’s G20, pushed for a swift resuming of the standard flow of goods and services. His comments come after the G20 was criticized for its purportedly slow response to COVID-19, which has killed more than 21,000 people around the world.

On Wednesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus put pressure on the G20 to push for increased funding and production of protective equipment for health care workers, who currently face a global shortage.

“We have a global responsibility as humanity and especially those countries like the G20. They should be able to support countries all over the world.”

As reported by ABC News, the G20 video call comes after the group of seven (G7) leading industrialized countries clashed over whether to designate China as the source of the coronavirus, with the U.S. pushing to label COVID-19 the “Wuhan virus.” Given the disagreement, the G7 did not release a statement following the G20 conference call.

Regardless, a source who observed the G20 meeting said it went smoothly in spite of ongoing battles between Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as the U.S. and China. A Brazilian government official with knowledge of the videoconference echoed the source’s sentiment.

“Everyone realizes that it is essential to preserve jobs, and to maintain trade flows, not disrupt the supply chains,” the official said.