Joe Biden faces a more skeptical global audience at his first G20 as president

The president arrived at the summit on Saturday morning, got out of his car and greeted Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the host of the conference. Biden lined up for a family photo with the G20 leaders along with Italian doctors joining the heads of state on the platform.

This weekend is the first personal G20 summit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and world leaders are expected to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, global supply chain problems, a global minimum tax rate, high energy prices and combating the climate crisis among other topics. The president will raise energy supply issues and throw his backing behind a global minimum charge in the first session of the G20 on Saturday in Rome, says a senior administration official. These two topics are among the top agenda items for Biden at the conference for the world’s largest economies.

“The overarching theme that goes into (Saturday) is that the United States is firmly committed to our allies and partners and to face-to-face diplomacy at the highest level,” the official said. “And at the G20, the United States and its allies and partners are here, we are energetic, we are united.”

The topic of the first session is the global economy and pandemic, and its main purpose will be the approval of a global minimum tax, a top priority for Biden, which the White House believes will end the global race to the bottom over corporate tax rates.

The agreed measure will tax large multinationals at a minimum rate of 15% and require them to pay tax in the countries in which they do business. The Biden administration breathed new life into the global initiative earlier this year and secured support from the G7 countries in June, paving the way for a preliminary agreement in July.

“In our view, this is more than just a tax deal. It’s a transformation of the rules of the global economy,” the official said.

Aspects of Biden’s recently unveiled spending framework would introduce part of the global minimum tax system, though the fate of this measure remains uncertain while Democrats haggle over timing. Officials in the Biden administration have downplayed the impact of the democratic struggle on Biden’s ability to bring together foreign leaders.

“These world leaders are really sophisticated. They understand that. There is a complicated process in any democracy to do something as ambitious as we pursue in our domestic agenda,” said the senior administration official. “It’s multigenerational investment, and of course we’re trying to reform tax law to pay for it. And so, you know, I think there’s going to be a broad understanding that takes time.”

Biden also plans to “raise the short-term imbalance in supply and demand in global energy markets” during the first G20 session, “the official said:” We would like to raise the issue and emphasize the importance of finding more balance and stability in both oil markets and gas markets. “

Still, the official said Biden would stop being directly involved in OPEC decisions to increase supply: “We certainly do not want to get involved in the details of what is happening within the cartel, but we have a voice and we have to intends to use it on an issue affecting the global economy. “

“There are large energy producers who have spare capacity,” the official said. “And we encourage them to use it to ensure a stronger, more sustainable recovery worldwide.”

Iran is also on the agenda for the United States and its top allies.

On Saturday, Biden will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the way back to the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), which aims to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions. , said the White House. Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the JCPOA agreement in 2018, and Biden has said the United States will rejoin it when Tehran returns to full compliance with the pact’s restrictions on nuclear development again.

The president is expected to hold further bilateral meetings with world leaders while in Rome, although the White House has not yet given any firm announcements. There will also be a traditional “family photo” of the leaders, which will be one of the most photographed opportunities for them to meet each other during the summit.

The president’s interaction with world leaders will be closely monitored over the weekend, especially as he attempts to smooth out a diplomatic vacuum with one of America’s oldest allies, France.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced a new partnership last month that included providing assistance to help Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines. France says the deal was reached in secret without their knowledge and brought an existing contract worth billions at stake to supply Australia with diesel-powered submarines. In an astonishing reprimand of the message, Macron briefly recalled France’s ambassador to the United States.

On Friday in Rome, Biden said his administration was “clumsy” in its handling of the deal that deprived France of billions in defense contracts when he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who appeared to be ready to move on from spat, but made it clear that the United States will have to prove credible in the future.

The meeting was the first time the two leaders saw each other face to face since the breakup. Biden said he was under the impression that France had been informed “long before the agreement did not go through, honestly with God.”

In addition to meeting with Macron on the first day of his journey, Biden and the first lady met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Biden, who is Catholic, and the pope met one-on-one for 90 minutes. The president said afterwards that Francis told him he was glad he was a “good Catholic” and that he should continue to receive communion, despite opposition from some conservative American bishops over his support for abortion.

Bidens was also welcomed by Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

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