Global businesses, workers and civil society call for global emergency debt relief to enable all countries in need to fight COVID-19 pandemic – ICC

ICC, ITUC and Global Citizen call for greater action by G20 governments on sovereign debt relief.

In an open letter released today, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the institutional representative of over 45 million companies, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the global voice of the world’s workers, and Global Citizen, a movement of engaged citizens who use their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030, urged G20 finance ministers to build on previous efforts to deliver a truly comprehensive sovereign debt package when of their meeting later this week.

The letter is based on a previous intervention of the global coalition in April before the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. Noting the progress made since – including the replenishment of the IMF’s Containment and Disaster Relief Trust and the establishment of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) – the letter calls for an extension of the DSSI until April 30, 2022 and an expansion of its eligibility criteria to include lower-middle-income and middle-income countries. Advocating for extending the DSSI just three months after its inception, the three global organizations highlight the deteriorating economic outlook for the global economy – and growing fears that the debt burden will undermine efforts to contain the pandemic and keep local economies afloat.

The letter specifies:

“Such a plan should be bold enough to remove the obstacles that the sovereign debt burden presents to contain the pandemic, while enabling a global recovery that prioritizes health resilience, decent work and growth. of the real economy. “

Joining forces in their call for urgent and coordinated action on debt, John WH Denton AO, ICC Secretary General, Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary and Michael Sheldrick, Global Citizen Policy and Government Affairs Officer write :

“Removing the specter of sovereign debt from the containment of the pandemic and the economic crisis is an absolute imperative for businesses, workers and citizens around the world. The investment required from the world’s major economies is tiny compared to the social and economic costs of inaction.

Speaking on the concerns of global business, John Denton said:

“There is a clear business case for a new debt relief package – to ensure macroeconomic stability, preserve productive capacity and enable global containment of the pandemic.”

Reflecting concerns that the effectiveness of the DSSI could be compromised by the limited participation of multilateral banks and bondholders in such efforts to date, the letter also highlights a number of measures the G20 could take to enable the collective participation of all creditors to any country in need due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full text of the letter.

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