G7 considers extending debt freeze

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    WASHINGTON – Finance ministers from the Group of Seven rich countries noted improved conditions in their economies, but underscored their concerns about the debt problems facing low-income nations, a US Treasury spokesperson said.

    During a videoconference hosted by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the ministers urged all official bilateral creditors to fully implement the G20 debt freeze for the poorest countries, and agreed to consider additional options, including extending the initiative into 2021, the spokesperson said.

    The meeting also included the leaders of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who have urged the Group of 20 countries to extend their Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) given the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

    G20 members, including China, and the Paris Club of official creditors in April offered a freeze on debt service payments to the 73 poorest countries through year-end to free up an estimated $12 billion in funds for the poorest countries to fight the outbreak and mitigate its economic impact.