The Group of Seven (G7) countries has issued a collective call for China to adhere to international trade rules and refrain from engaging in economic coercion. The G7 summit, held in Japan, addressed the increasing trend of countries weaponizing trade in political disputes.
In a statement on economic security released during the summit’s second day, the G7, comprised of wealthy democracies, expressed their commitment to enhancing resilience by addressing vulnerabilities and countering harmful practices that exploit and reinforce them.
Although the G7 statement did not explicitly mention China, Western officials have grown more vocal about China’s use of trade restrictions in political conflicts. The statement highlighted the “disturbing rise” in incidents of economic coercion that exploit economic vulnerabilities and undermine the foreign and domestic policies of G7 members and partners worldwide.
The G7 leaders vowed to work together to ensure that attempts to weaponize economic dependencies and force compliance on G7 members and partners, including smaller economies, would fail and face consequences.
China’s punitive trade measures have been a prominent topic of discussion at the G7 summit, with calls for coordinated action to counter Beijing’s actions. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Lithuania have faced trade restrictions following disputes with China on various issues, including the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic and Taiwan.
In a subsequent communique, the G7 leaders outlined a specific strategy for dealing with China, stating that they are not seeking to decouple or turn inwards but recognize the importance of de-risking and diversifying economic resilience. The communique emphasized that a globally compliant China would be in the best interest of all.
The United States Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, affirmed that the G7 is actively developing tools to deter and defend against China’s economic intimidation and retaliation.
Earlier this year, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss called for the establishment of an “economic NATO” and urged the international community to be prepared to impose stringent sanctions on China if it were to make aggressive moves towards Taiwan, which is self-governed.
Japan and European G7 members have been more cautious in confronting China due to their substantial reliance on Chinese trade. However, the G7’s united stance emphasizes the need for China’s compliance with international trade rules and the rejection of economic coercion.