ABU DHABI, 21st July, 2020 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, presided over the second G20 Steering Committee Meeting to review the UAE’s overall revamped approach, taking into account the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the G20 Process.
It also reviewed UAE’s priorities and objectives as a guest invitee at the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, due to take place on November 21st-22nd, 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In his speech, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed emphasised the importance of the country’s participation in the meeting and referred that this second participation acquires more significance as it comes in the light of the global impact of COVID-19 pandemic. “The participation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in the G20 Summit held virtually last March, reflects the importance of the event and the great priority given by the wise leadership for it,” he said.
“On this occasion, I would like to welcome members of the Cabinet who had the confidence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” Sheikh Abdullah noted, hailing the efforts exerted by all the ministers and task forces during this meeting.
He extended thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for cooperation and its sincere interest on the UAE’s participation as a guest invitee at the G20 Summit. “Through this membership, we look forward to increasing our experience and knowledge in a number of fields and to enhance the country’s confidence, appreciation and international respect,” he indicated.
Ministers and officials in attendance included Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Cabinet Member and Minister of Economy; Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention; Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation; Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education; Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security; Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Teleworking Applications; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State, and UAE Sherpa for the G20; Abdulhamid Saeed, Governor of UAE Central Bank, Dr. Harib Al Amimi – President of State Audit Institution, Abdulnasser Jamal Alshaali, Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and UAE Deputy Sherpa for the G20, and Younis Khouri, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Finance Deputy for the G20.
The meeting discussed the updated strategy for the UAE’s participation in the G20 Summit, which is being continuously updated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in light of the rapid changes the world has witnessed recently and the COVID-19’s repercussions.
Ahmed Al Sayegh, Minister of State and UAE Sherpa for the G20 said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the G20’s activities, with a number of extraordinary meetings to discuss the global response to the pandemic, notably the Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit, attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in March 2020.”
During the meeting, the ministers reflected on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commendable efforts to drive a globally coordinated response to COVID-19 and agreed that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption of the global economic system, achieving progress on the themes and aims of the G20 Summit are even more important than before.
They were briefed on the impact of the UAE’s participation in the G20 Process thus far across both the Sherpa and Finance Tracks.
The participants noted the UAE’s consistent high-level participation at all G20 meetings and the various ways in which UAE entities were exchanging best practices with G20 countries and other guest invitees. In this regard, Al Sayegh said, “The UAE’s participation across the G20 Sherpa Track has been excellent, with the UAE represented in almost all of its meetings thus far. The UAE has been a distinguished participant in all working groups and meetings, and has adopted an active role in shaping G20 outputs.”
The ministers further discussed ways in which the UAE could maximise its impact on the G20 Process, and ensure that the UAE could best deliver on its aim of representing GCC, small and underrepresented countries at the Leaders’ Summit.
They then considered preparations for upcoming key G20 engagements, including the 2nd Extraordinary Sherpa Meeting on 24th July 2020.
During the meeting, Al Tayer, reviewed the most important inputs and recommendations presented by the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Finance during its participation in the G20 Financial Track meetings. It has taken part in all 36 meetings of the G20’s Financial Track since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia assumed the chairmanship of the Group in December 2019.
He added, “The Ministry of Finance, in cooperation with 21 ministries, federal and local destinations in the country, is working to build the UAE policy on the topics of the G20 Financial Track and to showcase the country’s best practices on this global platform, which enhances the country’s competitive and pioneering position at the international level.”
Al Tayer also reviewed the work of the Ministry of Finance in the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, GPFI, and issues related to digital financial inclusion for youth, women and small and medium-sized companies, in addition to the latest developments on the project of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on phase 1 and phase 2 of international tax policies, combating domestic tax base erosion and profit shifting, BEPS.
Phase 1 aims to create the right to impose a tax on companies operating in the digital economy and companies facing the consumer based on the location of the final consumer’s residence.
Phase 2 aims to approve a minimum tax imposed on companies regardless of the company’s headquarters.
Al Tayer also reviewed the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development’s initiative to postpone the payment of the debts owed by developing countries and companies benefiting from the Fund’s loans during 2020 to help them overcome the economic repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn is in line with the UAE Government’s supportive stance to the G20 resolution as part of the initiative, launched by the World Bank within the International Financial Structure Working Group, aimed at suspending debt payments owed to developing countries to help them meet their development needs, reduce their debt burdens and enable them to address the effects of COVID 19 without financial pressure.
In December 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invited the UAE, in its capacity as current Chair of the GCC, to engage in the 2020 G20 Process. This Second G20 Steering Committee Meeting followed the First G20 Steering Committee Meeting, which took place on 18th July 2020.
Established in 1999, the G20 Summit is an annual gathering of representatives of the world’s largest economies that work to strengthen international economic cooperation. Following Saudi Arabia’s assumption of the G20 presidency, this year’s theme was announced as “Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”, with the broad aims of “Empowering People, Safeguarding the Planet, and Shaping New Frontiers.”