G-7 leaders try to ease tension, vow to coordinate on virus

International
Donald Trump, Mike Pence

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, behind, arrives to speak during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and its top economic allies pledged Monday to more closely share real-time information about the coronavirus and the availability of medical equipment and to support jobs, global trade and investment.

They also vowed to bolster science, research and technology and work to restore public confidence about the pandemic threatening the world’s economy.

President Donald Trump and other members of the Group of Seven, which includes Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and France, held a teleconference to coordinate responses to the coronavirus and reduce U.S.-European tension over Trump’s travel ban and reports about White House talks with a German company developing a vaccine.

“We are mobilizing the full range of instruments, including monetary and fiscal measures, as well as targeted actions, to support immediately and as much as necessary the workers, companies and sectors most affected,” they said in a statement.

Trump has had an on-again, off-again relationship with top U.S. allies, but his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said there was a high degree of cooperation on display during the teleconference.

“They’re not always so agreeable, but they are today,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House. “It’s a wonder to see.”

But the leaders also addressed a controversy involving German company CureVac that rattled top German officials, including Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who said “Germany is not for sale.”

On Sunday, Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper, citing unidentified German government sources, reported that the former head of CureVac joined Trump’s March meeting with pharmaceutical managers. The report said Trump apparently offered the German firm a large amount of funding to secure its work for the U.S.

The company, which is based in Tuebingen, Germany, and has a site in Boston, on Monday denied reports that the Trump administration was angling to acquire it. In a tweet Monday, the company tweeted: “CureVac has not received from the U.S. government or related entities an offer before, during and since the task force meeting in the White House.”

Shortly after the teleconference, the European Union announced it was providing $89.4 million (80 million euros) of financial support to CureVac to scale up development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus.

“We are determined to provide CureVac with the financing it needs to quickly scale up development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “I am proud that we have leading companies like CureVac in the EU. Their home is here. But their vaccines will benefit everyone, in Europe and beyond.”

French President Emmanuel Macron considers that many unilateral decisions taken by countries across the globe are counterproductive in fighting the outbreak. He has sought to mediate tensions that flared last week when the U.S. imposed a travel ban on European countries without consulting them.

“We will coordinate research efforts on a vaccine and treatments, and work on economic and financial response,” Macron tweeted.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Associated Press writers Lorne Cook in Brussels, David Rising in Berlin and Sylvia Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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