Chinese President Xi calls for all-out global war against coronavirus, moots tariff cuts
Beijing, Mar 26: Battling the coronavirus at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called for an all-out global war against the pandemic and proposed tariff cuts and removal of trade barriers to prevent the global economy slipping into recession.
Speaking at the unprecedented virtual G20 Summit on COVID-19 through, Xi said the world needs to be resolute in fighting an all-out global war against coronavirus which has created an unprecedented health crisis.
"This is a virus that respects no borders. The outbreak we are battling is our common enemy. All must work together to build a strongest global network of control and treatment that the world has ever seen," Xi said through videoconference.
Xi's statement came amid growing international criticism of China's reported failure to be fully transparent in reporting the COVID-19 outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year. Xi said the community of nations must move swiftly to stem the spread of the virus and China will be more than ready to share its good practices, conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and provide assistance where it can to countries hit by the pandemic. He said China has set up its online COVID-19 knowledge centre that is open to all countries.
About the pandemic's impact on global economy, Xi asked G20 members to cut tariffs, remove barriers and facilitate the unfettered flow of trade. He called on all G20 members to take collective actions, send a strong signal and restore confidence for global economic recovery.
Leaders of the G20 major economies held the online summit in a bid to fend off a coronavirus-triggered recession, after criticism the group has been slow to address the crisis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other G20 leaders joined the emergency summit chaired by Saudi Arabia's King Salman.
The talks come as the global death toll from COVID-19 soared to more than 21,000 and over three billion people were locked down in their homes, triggering a massive financial shock worldwide. Xi urged enhanced international macro-economic policy coordination to prevent the world economy from falling into recession.
Noting that the outbreak has disrupted production and demand across the globe, Xi said countries need to leverage and coordinate their macro policies to counter the negative impact and prevent the world economy from falling into recession.
He called on countries to implement strong and effective fiscal and monetary policies, better coordinate financial regulation and jointly keep the global industrial and supply chains stable. He said China will contribute to a stable world economy by continuing to advance reform and opening-up, widen market access, improve the business environment and expand imports and outbound investment.
China will increase its supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients, daily necessities, and anti-epidemic and other supplies to the international market, he said, referring to global concerns over the disruption of global supply chain after China went into lockdown mode in January to deal with the virus outbreak.
China did not report any new local coronavirus infections for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, but the number of imported COVID-19 cases rose sharply to 67 after the deadly virus was brought under control in its epicentre Wuhan, health officials said on Thursday.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday, 67 new confirmed cases were recorded, up from 47 a day earlier, all of which were imported. On Wednesday, six deaths were reported from Hubei province taking the death toll in China to 3,287 people and total number of cases to 81,285.