President Biden on Sunday relaunched a global infrastructure initiative meant to counter China’s growing influence, saying the U.S. would commit $200 billion to the effort in public and private financing to boost projects in developing and middle-income countries.
Describing the globe as at an inflection point, Biden said the initiative by the Group of Seven (G-7) nations would help set the world on a strong path for the future by investing in sustainable projects that are “grounded in our shared values.”
“It’s built using the global best practices — transparency, partnership, protections for labor and the environment,” Biden said in a speech from the G-7 summit in Germany on Sunday.
“We’re offering better options for countries and/or people around the world to invest in critical infrastructure that improves … their lives, all of our lives, and delivers real gains for all of our people,” he continued.
In addition to U.S. commitments, Biden said the G-7 countries collectively would aim to mobilize $600 billion for the partnership by 2027. The $200 billion in funding the U.S. is committing over the next five years is a combination of federal financing, grants and private sector investment, according to a White House fact sheet distributed ahead of Biden’s remarks.
The plan, called the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, is a rebranding of the “Build Back Better World” initiative that Biden unveiled at last year’s G-7 summit. The partnership was initially named after Biden’s sweeping domestic policy agenda, which has since stalled in Congress.
The White House fact sheet said that Biden administration officials had traveled to nations over the past year to hear from countries about how the initiative can meet their needs, improved coordination with other G-7 nations and “closed game-changing deals.”
Biden on Sunday highlighted a handful of projects that the initiative is already funding, including a new plant in Senegal that will produce vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.
The initiative focuses on four pillars: addressing climate change and investing in clean energy; building a secure and open internet and information systems; advancing gender equity and equality; and upgrading health infrastructure.
While Biden did not make explicit mention of China in his remarks on Sunday, the initiative is widely viewed as an effort to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative launched in 2013 that aims to invest in infrastructure development in dozens of countries.
Biden argued Sunday that the investments would have concrete benefits for Americans and other G-7 nations and said the initiative presented an opportunity for democracies to prove that they can deliver over autocracies.
“I want to be clear: This isn’t aid or charity. It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone, including the American people and the people of all our nations. It will boost all of our economies and it’s a chance for us to share our positive vision for the future and let communities around the world see themselves and see for themselves the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies,” Biden said.
“When democracies demonstrate what we can do — all that we have to offer — I have no doubt that we’ll win the competition every time,” he said.