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TEXT-G7 finance ministers discuss COVID recovery plans, climate

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Finance ministers and central bank heads from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations discussed climate change and how best to ensure recovery from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

Following is the text of a statement published by Britain’s finance ministry, which hosted the gathering online.

“The Chancellor today called on his international counterparts to make climate and nature considerations a central part of all economic and financial decision-making in 2021.

“Chairing his first meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under the UK Presidency, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out his priorities for the year ahead which also include protecting jobs and supporting the global economic recovery, working to reach a global solution to the tax challenges created by digitalisation of the economy and providing necessary support for the world’s most vulnerable countries.

“Hosting the meeting alongside Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey, the Chancellor urged his counterparts to match the UK’s ambitions ahead of COP26, and stressed the importance of working together to support a smooth and effective transition of our economies to net zero.

“Ministers and Central Bank Governors exchanged views on how best to shape and respond to the phases of the global recovery from Covid-19, including supporting workers and businesses in dealing with the pandemic while ensuring sustainability in the long term.

“The Chancellor also highlighted the moral, health and economic case for rapid and fair vaccine distribution across the world and called on the G7 to take the lead in shaping support for vulnerable countries in 2021. The G7 must ensure that International Financial Institutions have the right tools to equip and enable vulnerable countries to respond to the pandemic, and the Chancellor called on private sector creditors to play their full part to help ensure sustainable debt treatments for the poorest countries, paving the way for a truly global recovery.

“Making progress on reaching an international solution to the tax challenges of the digital economy was noted as a key priority. The UK underlined our commitment to this issue, and called on the G7 to work together towards reaching an enduring multilateral solution by the mid-2021 deadline agreed by the G20. To this end the Chancellor pointed to the need for constructive joint work across the G7, G20 and OECD.

“Joined by counterparts from the G7 the Chancellor also warmly welcomed U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to her first G7 meeting in her new capacity.

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak thanked his colleagues for the call, and closed by stressing this once in a generation opportunity to work together in our efforts to save lives, support jobs, and build a fairer, greener and more prosperous world.” (Reporting by David Milliken)