Trump, G-20 leaders say they're 'injecting' $5 trillion into global economy, vow to share health data

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and other world leaders said Thursday they are trying to fight the coronavirus by injecting more than $5 trillion into the global economy, sharing more health data, and addressing potential trade disruptions.

“Combating this pandemic calls for a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based global response in the spirit of solidarity,” said a statement from the leaders of the Group of 20 nations – the G-20 – following a videoconference.

President Donald Trump said he would discuss the G-20 meeting at a news conference later Thursday featuring members of his White House coronavirus task force. Trump said he is also holding a videoconference with U.S. governors on Thursday.

The statement did not detail where the money is coming from, but appeared to refer to stimulus plans from various governments. That includes the $2 trillion-plus proposal now pending in the U.S. Congress, and which Trump has pledged to sign.

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In pledging global cooperation, the statement from G-20 members cited three major areas:

  • Economic stimulus: “We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.”
  • Health care: “We will share timely and transparent information; exchange epidemiological and clinical data; share materials necessary for research and development; and strengthen health systems globally.”
  • Trade: “Consistent with the needs of our citizens, we will work to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, and work to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains.”

The United Nations and other leaders have asked G-20 countries to do more to help the global economy, including suspension of tariffs and other trade sanctions supported by leaders like Trump.

Asked at a Wednesday news conference about the prospect of lifting tariffs, Trump did not respond. He spoke instead about “strong borders” and stopping illegal immigration.

During the G-20 videoconference, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus addressed the group about the need to finance and produce more personal protection equipment like masks and gloves for besieged medical workers across the globe.

The current G-20 chairman, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, said he called the “virtual summit” to work on a “global response” to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response,” he tweeted before the meeting. “May God spare humanity from all harm.”

The conference came a day after another international economic group – the Group of Seven industrialized nations, or G-7 – failed to agree on a joint statement about coronavirus.

The reason: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted on referring to the epidemic as the “Wuhan virus,” saying China has a special responsibility to address the impact of the disease because it started in that country. Other G-7 members called the designation needlessly provocative.