International Cooperation on COVID-19 Urged During Congressional Hearing

July 15, 2020 by Tom Ramstack
Michael Froman

WASHINGTON – U.S. experts on European financial and political policy added their voices to an international call for greater cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic during a congressional hearing Tuesday.

They described the struggle to find a vaccine and to recover from the economic devastation of the disease as short-sighted if the United States works alone.

“This is the time to drop all barriers we have and to cooperate,” said Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment.

“That’s how we save as many lives as possible,” he said.

The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 is nearing 600,000. Keating, who chairs the subcommittee, said six of the dead are people he knew personally.

Working with researchers in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to develop a vaccine is one of the priorities that requires cooperation, he said.

However, the Trump administration has followed a different path that has included pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization, he said. 

He added that Trump’s slow response to the pandemic contributed to the United States having the world’s highest infection rate.

“These are not the decisions that will make us safe in the short term or the long term,” Keating said.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., agreed greater cooperation with Europe is needed but blamed some foreign entities for difficulties in confronting the pandemic.

He said the World Health Organization must be held accountable for not warning nations earlier about the dangers of COVID-19. The organization appeared to be bowing to pressure from China, where the disease was first reported in December, he said.

Regarding China, Kinzinger said, “The West is racing to find a cure but the [Communist Party of China] is racing to steal that cure.”

Recommendations from political policy and financial experts during the hearing fit closely with suggestions in a European Union report set for discussion at a G20 meeting of economic leaders this week.

Michael Froman, a former U.S. trade representative and now MasterCard executive, said distrust between the United States and Europe from previous trade competition needs to be overcome.

“The pandemic has shined a bright light on the need to work together,” Froman said.

The two greatest obstacles to jointly resolving the economic disaster from COVID-19 are sanctions during trade disputes and digital transaction taxes, Froman said.

The economic problems can only be resolved “if we bring the private sector to the table,” Froman said.

Rachel Ellehuus, a former Defense Department advisor on NATO and European policy, agreed medical issues were important but cautioned that the national defense also is threatened.

“Meanwhile, security and defense risks have not subsided,” she said.

She mentioned “disinformation” and “authoritarian tactics” by China and Russia as threats to American interests.

Meanwhile, European Union finance ministers approved a policy statement last week that encourages the world’s 20 most industrialized nations to seek a deal on digital taxation and to avoid interfering with deregulation of international trade during the pandemic.

“The G20 should support stronger international cooperation for defining the necessary monetary, fiscal and structural reform measures to ensure a safe exit” from the pandemic’s crisis, the policy statement says. 

The finance ministers plan to discuss their policy during a July 18 virtual meeting that will include U.S. trade representatives.

Foreign Affairs

Resolution Supporting Three Seas Initiative Unanimously Passes House
Foreign Affairs
Resolution Supporting Three Seas Initiative Unanimously Passes House
November 24, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – Last week, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, supporting the Three Seas Initiative unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The Three Seas Initiative is a strategic partnership of twelve Central and Eastern European nations with the... Read More

Biden Looks to Rehire Diplomats, Others Fired by Trump to Rebuild State Department
Dep. of State
Biden Looks to Rehire Diplomats, Others Fired by Trump to Rebuild State Department

WASHINGTON — Five days after President Donald Trump took office, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, was summarily fired — the start of what was to become a purge of senior State Department officials and career professionals over nearly four years. Now Thomas-Greenfield is back, leading President-elect Joe Biden's State Department transition... Read More

EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants
European Union
EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants

LONDON (AP) — The EU's efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness, a report said Thursday. Legal tools available to the bloc's competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept... Read More

A Look at Trans-Atlantic Cooperation After the US Election
Foreign Affairs
A Look at Trans-Atlantic Cooperation After the US Election
November 17, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — The recent U.S. election left much for both Americans and European allies to process in terms of the shaping of U.S. politics and global affairs.  President-elect Biden, historically a committed trans-Atlanticist, has reaffirmed his commitment to European allies in early statements post-election.  Yet doubts... Read More

Bipartisan Coalition Leads Charge to Strengthen Partnerships with African Nations
Foreign Affairs
Bipartisan Coalition Leads Charge to Strengthen Partnerships with African Nations
November 16, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., Anthony G. Brown, D-Md., Austin Scott, R-Ga., and Richard Hudson, R-N.C., have introduced the Africa Foreign Relations, International Cooperation, and Assistance Act, H.R. 8186, to enhance security and economic partnerships between the United States and African countries.   The bill requires... Read More

World Watches, Worries and Wags a Finger as US Election Count Drags On
Foreign Affairs
World Watches, Worries and Wags a Finger as US Election Count Drags On

SINGAPORE — Transfixed by a U.S. presidential vote that failed to swiftly yield a clear winner, a watching world responded Wednesday with a mixture of worry, disbelief and, in some quarters, scorn. Many foreign allies weighed in with precisely the kind of counsel that U.S. diplomats and officials for generations have... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top