G7 Ministers Back Extension of Debt Freeze For Poorest Nations, Urge Reforms

G7 finance ministers on Friday backed an extension of a G20 temporary freeze in debt payments and recognized the need for broad debt relief in the future, while taking aim at G20 member China over a lack of transparency in its lending, Reuters reported. The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), approved in April, is aimed at helping developing countries get through the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. So far, it has helped 43 countries defer $5 billion in official debt service payments. However, in a joint statement, the G7 ministers said they “strongly regret” moves by some countries to skip full participation in the DSSI by classifying their state-owned institutions as commercial lenders. While the statement did not mention China specifically, G7 officials said the message was clearly aimed at Beijing, which has failed to include loans by state-owned China Development Bank and other government-controlled entities in its official debt totals when dealing with countries seeking debt relief. Read more