Key Takeaways from G7 Trade Ministers’ Statement, Osaka-Sakai, 29 October 2023: Main Conclusions and Summary
What is the Group of G7?
The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US, and the EU, which is a "non-enumerated member". It promotes pluralism, liberal democracy, and representative government. G7 countries contribute for nearly half of global net worth (over $200 trillion), 30 to 43% of global GDP, and 10% of the world's population (770 million) as of 2020. Its members have tight global political, economic, diplomatic, and military links.
From an ad hoc meeting of finance ministers in 1973, the G7 has become a formal, high-profile forum for discussing and coordinating global concerns like trade, security, economics, and climate change. The G7 Summit is where each member's head of government or state, the EU's Commission President, and European Council President gather yearly. Other high-ranking G7 and EU officials meet throughout the year. Foreign visitors are often invited, with Russia being a G8 member from 1997 until its expulsion in 2014.
Non-treaty-based G7 has no permanent secretariat or office.
A presidency rotates annually among member states, establishing goals and hosting the summit; Japan presides in 2023.The G7 has led several global initiatives, including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, financial aid to developing countries, and the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, despite having no legal or institutional basis. However, commentators have criticised the group for its antiquated membership, narrow worldwide representation, and ineffectiveness.
How do meetings work?
Each government leader attends the annual G7 summit. The G7 presidency country hosts the annual summit. Usually, each nation hosts the summit every seven years.
What is this trade meeting all about?
About seven work streams exist. Trade is one of them and coordinates work at the global level.
Addressing Common challenges
The G7 Trade Ministers met in Osaka-Sakai to reaffirm and strengthen cooperation in addressing common challenges, including Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, prolonged non-market policies, and long-term structural shifts.
Free and fair trading system based on the rule of law
They will redouble efforts to tackle these issues by maintaining a free and fair trading system based on the rule of law and enhancing economic resilience and security.
Condemnation of Russia's War of aggression
They condemn Russia's brutal war of aggression against Ukraine and support Ukraine's recovery through trade.
The G7 is committed to delivering concrete outcomes at the upcoming 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13). They underline the role of trade in contributing to inclusive global economic growth and promoting resilient supply chains through the expansion of mutually beneficial economic opportunities to international partners.
The G7 is committed to promoting WTO reform that serves the interests of all members and maintaining and strengthening a rules-based, inclusive, free, and fair multilateral trading system. They are also committed to further deepening discussions ahead of MC13, strengthening the deliberative function of the WTO, and promoting agricultural reforms consistent with the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring a global level playing field and fair competition by discouraging protectionism and market-distorting practices.
These practices distort fair global competition, trade, and investment, particularly negatively impacting industrial development in emerging and developing economies. The WTO recognizes the importance of transparency as a basis for effective multilateral subsidy rules, meaningful policy deliberations, and fair competition.
The WTO acknowledges the need for further discussion on suitable means to address opaque and trade-distortive subsidies provided by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including investment funds controlled in substance by the State. They commend the ongoing work of revising OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises to better address the impact of SOEs on the level playing field.
The WTO also emphasizes the importance of voluntary technology transfer on mutually agreed terms, particularly to LDCs, to help build a viable technological base and foster innovation. However, they express renewed concerns on forced technology transfers, which are fundamentally unfair and inconsistent with an international trading system based on market principles.
Resilient supply chain networks among trusted partners
The G7 is united in taking necessary actions to build and strengthen resilient supply chain networks among trusted partners, both within and beyond the G7. They deplore actions to weaponize economic dependencies and commit to building on free, fair, and mutually beneficial economic and trade relationships. They also acknowledge the need for further efforts to build resilient and reliable supply chains for critical goods such as minerals, semiconductors, and batteries.
Enhancing supply chain resilience
The G7 countries are committed to enhancing supply chain resilience and addressing vulnerabilities in economies worldwide, particularly in LDCs and developing countries. They are also committed to upholding the free, fair, open, and transparent economy driven by market principles. They will enhance collective efforts in communication to boost business preparedness against economic coercion and raise awareness of businesses of the G7 and beyond about the possibility of contributing inadvertently to enabling trade-related coercive measures through trade with and investment in countries willfully violating common international trade rules and norms.
Digital trade is also emphasized, with a focus on facilitating Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) and supporting open digital markets. The G7 is committed to establishing high-standard rules to govern global digital trade and working towards substantial conclusion by the end of 2023. They are also committed to tackling unjustified data localization measures that lack transparency and are arbitrarily imposed, as well as the OECD's work on data localization measures.
Sustainability & Trade
Trade and environment policies should be mutually supportive, consistent with the WTO and multilateral environmental agreements. They are committed to facilitating trade and promoting a circular economy approach to goods, services, and technologies that help meet their climate and other environmental goals. They will pursue policies that drive decarbonization and emissions reduction in line with their common goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and address the risk of carbon leakage. They will provide transparency and predictability, pay attention to the needs of businesses, and cooperate to ensure international consistency of methodologies to measure embedded emissions.
The G7 reiterates the importance of promoting respect for human rights and international labor standards in business activities and global supply chains. They commit to eliminating all forms of forced labor and child labor in global supply chains and supporting corporate due diligence. The G7 also emphasizes strengthening outreach and engagement on business and human rights beyond the G7, including recent dialogues between the G7 and Asian countries.
The role of trade in reducing poverty
The G7 acknowledges the benefits of trade and its role in reducing poverty, affirming its willingness to contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries and LDCs. They support fair and free global trade, strengthen trade facilitation efforts, and increase access to trade-related infrastructure and capacity building for developing countries. They also support a more significant role for low and middle-income countries in supply chains, promoting diversification and local value creation.
The importance of developing infrastructure and capacity in developing countries
The G7 also emphasizes the importance of developing infrastructure and capacity that enable developing countries, particularly LDCs, to participate in the Multilateral Trading System. They call on WTO members to promote best practices for facilitating the movement of humanitarian goods.
Food and nutrition crisis
The G7 also addresses the food and nutrition crisis, highlighting the importance of rules-based, open, fair, predictable, transparent, and non-discriminatory international trade in food and agricultural products. They call for the immediate repeal of any unnecessarily restrictive measures on food products.
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