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Norway seeking increased international cooperation to deal with the coronavirus crisis

Press Release | 16 April 2020

Widespread international cooperation is of vital importance in the efforts to alleviate the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. The Government is now considering a Norwegian contribution to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust as well as increased funding to lending schemes for low-income countries.

Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner (Conservative Party) took part today in a video conference meeting of the IMF International Monetary and Financial Committee, which comprises ministers of finance and central bank governors. Multilateral cooperation was one of the key topics at the meeting.

In order to meet the need for support to vulnerable low-income countries, the IMF is calling for increased funding for the subsidised schemes for these countries financed under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). Norway is now considering the possibility of contributing to lending funds for the poorest countries through the PRGT. The Government is also assessing whether to allocate development assistance funding to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). The CCRT provides debt relief for the poorest countries by covering debt service payments to the IMF during the period in which these countries are dealing with the pandemic.

‘I am pleased that the IMF is responding quickly to the crisis, and that the member countries are demonstrating their willingness to work together to re-activate economies. These efforts are designed to help vulnerable countries that lack an adequate health care system and economic structure for dealing with the ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are seeking common solutions to common challenges,’ said Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner.

No country can solve this crisis on its own. This is why Norway is seeking increased international cooperation to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

‘Norway supports a shared endeavour to give the poorest countries debt service relief for both interest and instalment payments. This will enable them to free up resources they can use to fight the coronavirus outbreak,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein (Christian Democratic Party).

‘The corona pandemic and the comprehensive infection control measures in many countries will lead to a major decline in the world economy. We must work to strengthen multilateral cooperation to help people and enterprises get through this global crisis,’ said Mr Sanner.

History has shown the importance of economic cooperation and free trade across national borders. Prosperity in Norway and many other countries is rooted in trade and commercial activity. Open markets and regulated multilateral cooperation have helped to promote economic growth and created millions of jobs. This world order is now under threat. Never before has it been more important to work to achieve broader international cooperation – in the Nordic countries, in Europe, and throughout the world.

‘The pandemic does not stop at national borders. To get through this, we are dependent on the success of other countries in limiting the spread of infection and controlling their economic fallout, and we all need to ensure that the international markets still exist when this is over,’ said Mr Sanner.

‘The UN, IMF, World Bank, WHO and WTO all have a key role to play in the fight against the pandemic. Norway, too, is doing what it can to ensure that developing countries will be able to manage the coronavirus outbreak and its long-term ramifications. Among other things, we were behind the initiative to establish – and have contributed to – the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund, and we are providing considerable support to vaccine development efforts. We must protect those who are most vulnerable, and prevent today’s health crisis from becoming tomorrow’s hunger disaster and social crisis,’ said Mr Ulstein.