(October 29, 2021)
7:11 P.M. CEST
MODERATOR: All right. Good evening, everybody. This is [senior administration official]. Thank you for joining us for this background briefing call previewing tomorrow, day one of the G20.
Joining us today is [senior administration official]. He’ll give some remarks at the top, and then we’ll have time to take just a couple of questions.
As we said in the email, this briefing will be on background, attributable to a “senior administration official,” and will be embargoed until 5:00 a.m. local time in Rome, tomorrow, Saturday, October 30th.
And with that, I will hand it over to [senior administration official].
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, thanks. So, let me just say a few words at the top, and then I’m happy to take a few questions.
So, today was a good day in Rome. President Biden had a one-on-one meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis. I know the President shared some thoughts about what the meeting meant to him. President Biden also met with President Mattarella and Prime Minister Draghi of Italy, and President Macron of France.
In those meetings, he affirmed the strength of our partnerships and shared values with these European allies on a broad range of issues.
Tomorrow, the President will participate in the first G20 Plenary Session, which covers global health and the global economy, and he’ll also meet with the E3+1 on Iran.
I’d say, you know, the overarching theme going into tomorrow is: The United States is steadfastly committed to our allies and partners and to face-to-face diplomacy at the highest levels.
And at the G20, the United States and allies and partners are here, we’re energized, we’re united. This is also a chance for the President to continue his leadership and coordinate with world leaders on shared interests, none more important than ending the global pandemic and preparing better for the next one, securing a strong and sustainable global recovery, and confronting the climate crisis, and host of other issues that matter to Americans at home.
Let me just give you a bit more on the plenary session — the first plenary session for the G20 tomorrow. So, this will be the opening day of the G20. And as I mentioned, the topic will be the global — the global economy and the global pandemic.
In this session, G20 leaders will support the establishment of the historic global minimum tax to ensure that giant corporations pay their fair share no matter where they’re located. The deal works because it removes the incentives for the offshoring of American jobs, it’s going to help small businesses compete on a level playing field, and it’s going to give us more resources to invest in our people at home. It’s a game changer for American workers, taxpayers, and businesses. And in our judgment, this is more than just a tax deal; it’s a reshaping of the rules of the global economy.
Just to give you some numbers on this: One recent independent study found that this agreement to establish a 15 percent global minimum corporate tax rate — up from zero, today — would lead to at least $60 billion in additional revenues per year in the United States alone. This would, of course, help implement President Biden’s historic Build Back Better Agenda to create good-paying jobs and fight the climate crisis.
I’d also say the deal is a testament to American diplomacy and leadership. The President, Secretary Yellen, and staff worked around the clock to get us closer to ending this destructive race to the bottom that’s been taking place for multiple decades.
In June — you know, there were several steps that proceeded this historic agreement. In June, the President rallied G7 leaders to endorse a strong global minimum tax. In early October, more than 130 countries agreed to it. And now, tomorrow, we’re on track for leaders representing more than 80 percent of the world’s GDP — allies and competitors alike — to formally endorse the deal.
I should also mention that, tomorrow, the President intends to raise the short-term imbalance in supply and demand in the global energy markets so that the global — so that the economic recovery in the United States and elsewhere around the world is reinforced, rather than undermined.
And, you know, what you’ll get from the plenary session and, really, what we’re trying to drive forward is the message that this President is pursuing a foreign policy for the middle class. And tomorrow will be an example of what that’s all about.
Let me just stop there.
MODERATOR: Great. We have time for a couple of questions, if people want to raise their hands on the Zoom. And we’ll get through many as — as many as we can.
I’ll start with Chris from the L.A. Times. Chris, we’ll unmute you and you can chat here.
Q Hi, everybody. A question on the tax deal. What are the parameters of the announcement tomorrow? What exactly do you expect the world leaders will say, and who will be signing onto it? And when you expect a vote on this in Congress?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. So, tomorrow, leaders, for the first time, will endorse the deal. This has been agreed to at the finance ministers’ level and at the working level leading up to this event. But tomorrow is really where they put their stamp on it and commit to implementing the deal by the 2023 date that’s been set through the OECD framework, which includes 140 countries.
And so, coming out of this Leader Summit, each country will go through its own process to ratify both pillars of the deal. There’s pillar one and pillar two. As you know, pillar two was already working its way through the U.S. Congress.
MODERATOR: Great. We’ll go to Andrea from Reuters.
Q Thank you for doing this. [Senior administration official], I wanted to ask you about your comments on the imbalances in supply and demand in the global energy markets. What exactly can the G20 leaders do, commit to do, or pledge to do that would change that? What exactly is the United States going to be pressing for?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, look, I mean, the United States is experiencing a strong recovery. We’re going to grow — well, the estimates are, from the IMF, that we’re going to grow 6 percent for the full year 2021. That’s our strongest growth rate in almost 40 years. And we’re driving world economic growth.
But you know the world economy has a lot of divergences; a lot of countries are growing at rates much slower than 6 percent. And so, it’s a delicate time in the global economy. And what’s important is that global energy supplies keep up with global energy demand. And global — global energy demand has returned almost back to pre-pandemic levels. Global energy supplies have not.
And so, within the G20, there are, of course, major consumers of energy and there are major suppliers of energy. We’d like to raise the issue and underscore the importance of finding more balance and stability, both in oil markets and gas markets.
Q Will they specifically single out OPEC?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, I don’t think — you know, that’s — I would characterize it the way I just did: There are major energy consumers and major energy suppliers.
We don’t have — we’re not a party to OPEC and we’re certainly not going to get involved with the specifics of what happens within the cartel, but we have a voice and we intend to use it on an issue that’s affecting the global economy as much as energy prices are.
Q Thank you.
MODERATOR: All right, thanks. We’ll go to Jim Tankersley with the New York Times.
Q Thanks so much. Okay, two questions. First, on the energy producers: Do you have actual targets — barrels of oil or amounts of natural gas — that you’re going to be pushing for, or just a general more supply?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, this is really at the level of leaders’ interventions in a plenary session. And, of course, the output of the G20 is a communiqué. So, the language is at a high level. It’s not anything that you would characterize as “quantitative” — certainly not in terms of barrels per day or percentage of existing supply or percentage of existing demand.
What we’re talking about are our principles. And the principle we’re trying to articulate is that we’re at a delicate time in the global economic recovery, and there are major energy producers that have spare capacity, and we’re encouraging them to use it to ensure a stronger, more sustainable recovery across the world.
Q Great. Okay. And then on the tax deal: Does the administration anticipate any discussion among the leaders about the fact that the President has been unable to convince his own party to raise the United States corporate rate at all, even though his package does include a global minimum?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, I think there’s a recognition — these world leaders really are sophisticated. They understand there’s a complicated process in any democracy to do anything as ambitious as we’re pursuing in our domestic agenda.
These are multigenerational investments. And, of course, we’re trying to reform the tax code to pay for it. And so, you know, I think there’s going to be a broad understanding that takes time.
And what’s important is they’re seeing the direction of travel. The strategic ambition of the President’s agenda is what they’re responding to most.
Q Thank you.
MODERATOR: All right. We got time for one more. We’ll go to Zeke with the Associated Press.
Q Thanks for doing this. Just on the global virus front, should we expect to be hearing from the President any new announcements on global vaccine-sharing, or any efforts on the part of the administration to hold accountable European and other partners who have not lived up to their global vaccine-sharing commitments, or anything new on, sort of, the COVID pandemic response?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, you know, the main thrust of the international effort to end the current pandemic is not traveling principally through the G20. It’s actually traveling through the summit that the President hosted just a few weeks ago on the margins of UNGA. We had more than 100 countries join. There were more than 100 non-governmental organizations that also came together. And they set really ambitious targets.
And as we noted, during that summit, the Secretary of State is going to convene foreign ministers at the end of the year to update on our collective progress and then maintain urgency to cross the finish line and end the pandemic in 2022.
So, for our part, look, the United States has stepped up; we’ve donated more than — we’ve committed to donate more than a billion doses. We’ve shipped more than 200 million vaccines to over 100 countries. Just this month, we announced 17 million vaccine doses to the African Union. A few days ago, you may have seen, the U.S. brokered an agreement between the African Union and Moderna that included increasing the number of doses that the African Union could purchase. And on top of that, the U.S. agreed to replace deliveries to the United States with deliveries to the African Union — to take our doses later.
So, that’s just a — what I’m pointing to is a drumbeat of commitments the U.S. has made, and we’re hoping that our commitments raise the ambition of others at the G20 to follow.
MODERATOR: All right. Thank you for the questions, and thank you, [senior administration official], for taking the time.
Just a reminder, once more: This briefing has been on background, attributable to a “senior administration official,” and is embargoed until 5:00 a.m. Rome time tomorrow morning.
Thanks a lot for joining. And if you have any questions, you can feel free to follow up with myself or [senior administration official] with the NSC. Take care.
7:25 P.M. CEST