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Yellen Urges G-20 Countries to Increase Support for Global Vaccination Efforts


WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary

Janet Yellen

issued an urgent call for global cooperation to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and bolster the global economic recovery, in a letter to her international counterparts Thursday.

“No one nation alone can declare victory over these crises,” she said in a letter to her colleagues in the Group of 20 countries, which includes China and other emerging-market economies. “Indeed, our cooperation has never mattered more. This is a moment made for action and for multilateralism.”

Ms. Yellen urged the G-20 countries to increase their support for global vaccination programs, citing “the high, unmet needs of these initiatives.”

“A rapid and truly global vaccination program is the strongest stimulus we can provide to the global economy,” she said.

She also emphasized the need for a coordinated response to the global crisis and urged G-20 countries “to continue to take significant fiscal and financial-policy actions and avoid withdrawing support too early.”

“If there was ever a time to go big, this is the moment,” she said.

Janet Yellen told lawmakers during her confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary that the benefits of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package outweigh the costs in the long run. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Press Pool (Published Jan. 19, 2021)

Ms. Yellen raised concerns about low-income countries in particular, which she said could experience further deaths and a needless delay of their economic recoveries without access to vaccines.

An allocation of special drawing rights, a type of reserve currency created by the International Monetary Fund, could enhance liquidity for low-income countries to aid their recovery efforts, she said.

“To make this tool effective, the G20 must work with a broad coalition of countries on a set of shared parameters for greater transparency and accountability in how SDRs are exchanged and used,” she said.

She strongly encouraged G-20 members to channel excess SDRs in support of recovery efforts in low-income countries.

She also called for global investments to help workers adapt to a post-pandemic digital world, and said the G-20 should continue to work on improving the speed and efficiency of the payments system. She said the U.S. is committed to multilateral discussions on corporate taxation and overcoming existing disagreements.

Ms. Yellen also called for better global cooperation to address climate change. She said the Treasury will co-chair the relaunched G-20 sustainable-finance group, which it proposes to elevate to a working group to reflect its importance.

“As policy makers of leading economies, we must have frank, open and sometimes difficult discussions about how to share the burdens and opportunities of transitioning our economies toward a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous future,” she wrote.

Write to Kate Davidson at [email protected]

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