The International Chamber of Commerce – the institutional representative of over 45 million businesses – has issued a statement following the conclusion of the annual G20 leaders’ summit.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:
“Recent breakthroughs in Covid-19 vaccine trials have understandably raised hopes that the global economy can get back on track in 2021. But the governments of the world’s richest nations are ultimately wielding a double-edged sword: vaccine nationalism represents the most significant downside risk to a rapid recovery from the crisis in the months ahead.
“The signal today from G20 leaders that they will ‘spare no effort’ in ensuring equitable access to proven vaccines is certainly welcome. But rhetoric alone won’t enable widespread access to the tests, treatments and vaccines needed to break the pandemic’s grip on the global economy. An absolute minimum is for the world’s richest economies put the necessary funds on the table to capitalise the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
“It’s vital that political leaders don’t get lulled into a false sense of complacency by vaccine advances. Equity markets may have surged on recent news but the real economy remains worryingly fragile. The pandemic’s devastating effect on small business cannot be dealt with by way of occasional half measures. We are at serious risk of a lost decade for the global economy unless the G20 raises its game in providing fiscal support to emerging markets.
“An almost universal theme of leaders’ set-piece speeches at the summit was the need for enhanced international coordination in response to the crisis. The Italian government should seize on this renewed zeal for multilateralism by convening an extraordinary leaders’ summit early in the new year. This should focus on four essential steps to safeguard the real economy: expanding debt relief and fiscal support for emerging economies; securing the supply of finance to small businesses; safely restoring global mobility; and promoting open, rules-based global trade.”