S. Korea calls on G-20 to work on alleviating excessive travel, logistics bans

By Bae Hyunjung

Seoul shares its epidemic-fighting experience with leading economies

Published : Mar 24, 2020 - 16:40
Updated : Mar 24, 2020 - 16:40

Saudi Arabia's fiscal officials on Monday chair the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Virtual Meeting in Riyadh. (Yonhap)

South Korea has urged advanced nations to refrain from excessive restrictions on human activities and material resources amid the global novel coronavirus spread, citing the economic repercussions, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Tuesday.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 member nations on Monday met virtually to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank, and Financial Stability Board.

Under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, the economic chiefs agreed to develop a joint action plan to deal with the pandemic and outline individual and collection actions required.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Aljadaan underlined the need for medium- and long-term actions to support the recovery of the global economy.

Participating officials reached a consensus on a virtual summit of the G-20 leaders, while Saudi Arabia reciprocated in a statement that it will make related announcements “in a few days.”

The teleconference of G-20 leaders had earlier been suggested by Korean President Moon Jae-in, shortly after the World Health Organization defined the ongoing coronavirus as a pandemic.

While each member state briefed on the respective epidemic situation, Asia’s fourth-largest economy presented its responsive measures which has caught the international community’s keen attention lately.

“It is crucial that the upcoming joint action plan includes macroeconomic international cooperation, alleviated rules on travel bans and logistics restriction,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki.

Seoul’s fiscal chief requested the participating international organizations to carry out an extensive analysis of the negative impact that excessive bans may have on the economy.

“The human costs of the coronavirus pandemic are already immeasurable and all countries need to work together to protect people and limit the economic damage. This is a moment for solidarity,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement following the virtual meeting.

“The economic impact is and will be severe, but the faster the virus stops, the quicker and stronger the recovery will be.”

The IMF also expressed its support for the fiscal actions to boost health systems and protect affected businesses, as well as for easing monetary actions observed around the world.

The next virtual round of ministerial meeting is slated to be held on April 15. The G-20 comprises the European Union and 19 developed economies, including three Northeast Asian states -- South Korea, China and Japan.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)


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