G7 Countries: Members, History and 44th G7 Summit

G7 countries

The Group of Seven (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These seven largest advanced economies of the world represent more than 62% of the global net wealth ($280 trillion). The G7 countries also represent more than 46% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on nominal values, and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity. The European Union is also represented at the G7 summit. The organization was founded to facilitate shared macroeconomic initiatives by its members in response to the collapse of the exchange rate in 1971, during the time of the Nixon shock, the 1970s energy crisis, and the ensuing recession. The annual G7 leaders’ summit is attended by the heads of government. The member country holding the G7 presidency is responsible for organizing and hosting the year’s summit. The serial annual summits can be parsed chronologically in arguably distinct ways, including as the sequence of host countries for the summits has recurred over time and series. Generally, every country hosts the summit once every 7 years.

History of G7 Countries – 

The concept of a forum for the world’s major industrialized countries emerged before the 1973 oil crisis. On Sunday, 25 March 1973, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, George Shultz, convened an informal gathering of finance ministers from West Germany (Helmut Schmidt), France (Valéry Giscard d’Estaing), and the United Kingdom (Anthony Barber) before an upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C. When running the idea past President Nixon, he noted that he would be out of town and offered use of the White House. The meeting was subsequently held in the library on the ground floor. Taking their name from the setting, this original group of four became known as the “Library Group”. In mid-1973, at the World Bank-IMF meetings, Shultz proposed the addition of Japan to the original four nations, who agreed.The informal gathering of senior financial officials from the United States, the United Kingdom, West Germany, Japan, and France became known as the “Group of Five“. Later, a 1975 summit hosted by France brought together representatives of six governments: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Schmidt and Giscard d’Estaing were heads of government in their respective countries, and since they both spoke fluent English, it occurred to them that they, and British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and U.S. President Gerald Ford could get together in an informal retreat and discuss election results and the issues of the day. In late spring, d’Estaing of France invited the heads of government from West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States to a summit in Château de Rambouillet. The annual meeting of the six leaders was organized under a rotating presidency, forming the Group of Six (G6).

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In 1976, with Wilson out as prime minister of Britain, Schmidt and Gerald Ford felt an English speaker with more experience was needed, so Canada’s Pierre Trudeau was invited to join the group and the group became the Group of Seven (G7). Since first invited by the United Kingdom in 1977 the European Union has been represented by the president of the European Commission, and the leader of the country that holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Council President now also regularly attends. Until the 1985 Plaza Accord, no one outside of a tight official circle knew when the seven finance ministers met and what they agreed. The summit was announced the day before and a communiqué was issued afterward. Following 1994’s G7 summit in Naples, Russian officials held separate meetings with leaders of the G7 after the group’s summits. This informal arrangement was dubbed the Political 8 (P8) – or, colloquially, the G7+1. At the invitation of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair and President of the United States Bill Clinton, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was invited first as a guest observer, later as a full participant. After the 1997 meeting, Russia was formally invited to the next meeting and formally joined the group in 1998, resulting in a new governmental political forum, the Group of Eight or G8. The Russian Federation, in fact, had and has limited net national wealth and financial weight compared to the other members of the G8. Russia also has never been a major advanced economy according to the IMF. However, the Russian Federation was ejected from the G8 political forum in March 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Works of G7 Countries –

Since 1975, the group meets annually on summit site to discuss economic policies. Since 1987, the G7 Finance Ministers have met at least semi-annually, up to 4 times a year at stand-alone meetings. In 1996, the G7 launched an initiative for the 42 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC).

In 1999, the G7 decided to get more directly involved in “managing the international monetary system” through the Financial Stability Forum, formed earlier in 1999 and the G-20, established following the summit, to “promote dialogue between major industrial and emerging market countries”. The G7 also announced their plan to cancel 90% of bilateral, and multilateral debt for the HIPC, totalling $100 billion. In 2005 the G7 announced debt reductions of “up to 100%” to be negotiated on a “case by case” basis.

In 2008 the G7 met twice in Washington, D.C. to discuss the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 and in February 2009 in Rome. The group of finance ministers pledged to take “all necessary steps” to stem the crisis.

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On 2 March 2014, the G7 condemned the “Russian Federation’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The G7 stated “that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remains the institution best prepared to help Ukraine address its immediate economic challenges through policy advice and financing, conditioned on needed reforms”, and that the G7 was “committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to support Ukraine in addressing its macroeconomic, regulatory and anti-corruption challenges. On 24 March 2014, the G7 convened an emergency meeting in response to the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea at the official residence of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the Catshuis in The Hague. This location was chosen because all G7 leaders were already present to attend the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the Netherlands. This was the first G7 meeting neither taking place in a member nation nor having the host leader participating in the meeting. On 4 June 2014 leaders at the G7 summit in Brussels, condemned Moscow for its “continuing violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty, in their joint statement and stated they were prepared to impose further sanctions on Russia. This meeting was the first since Russia was expelled from the G8 following its annexation of Crimea in March.

All you need to know about 44th G7 Summit – 

The 44th G7 Summit ended on a bitter note after the member nations indulged in a war of words, particularly with the US. The summit was soured by a row over the US president Donald Trump’s decision to impose higher import taxes on aluminum and steel imports. shortly after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said he was “happy to announce that we have released a joint communiqué by all seven countries” indicating that the US was also included, Trump announced that Washington would reverse its decision and not sign the statement. The G7 summit participants managed to patch over their disagreements and agreed to disagree on some issues in a joint final statement. Yet after leaving the summit for his Tuesday meeting with the leader of North Korea, Trump tweeted that he would instruct US officials not to endorse the G7 statement, after objecting to comments from summit host Trudeau.

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The G7 leaders issued a joint pledge on Sunday to combat protectionism and cut trade barriers after two days of often fierce arguments between the US and both the summit hosts and Europe. The eight-page statement also included joint commitments to ensure that Iran will “never seek, develop or acquire a nuclear weapon” as well as demands for Russia to stop undermining Western democracies.

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilising behaviour, to undermine democratic systems and its support of the Syrian regime. We condemn the attack using a military grade nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom. We share and agree with the United Kingdom’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation,” they said in the joint statement. Responding to the criticism, Russian president Vladimir Putin dismissed it as “creative babbling” and said it was time to start cooperating again. “I believe it’s necessary to stop this creative babbling and shift to concrete issues related to real cooperation,” Putin told reporters on a visit to China. He also said the G7 countries had “again” failed to provide any evidence that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter in Britain in March.

In the meeting, there was also an agreement to disagree on climate change in the wake of Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate accord in 2017 which further underlined the divide between the Group of Seven’s powerhouse and its six co-members. During the summit, Trump was accused of seeking to undermine the “rules-based” international order but the final statement began by stressing “the crucial role of a rules-based international trading system” as well as a commitment to “continue to fight protectionism.” But in an apparent nod to Trump, the G7 also pledged to push for swift reforms to the World Trade Organisation which the US president has said has been a “disaster” for his country.

“We commit to modernise the WTO to make it more fair as soon as possible. We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies,” it said.

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In a news conference after the summit, Trudeau reasserted his opposition to the US tariffs and vowed to press ahead with retaliatory moves on 1 July. “Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around,” he said. Speaking at a post-summit press conference, Trudeau acknowledged that there were major differences with Trump. “What we did this weekend was come together, roll up our sleeves and figure out a consensus language that we could all agree to,” Trudeau said in the town of La Malbaie where leaders had been meeting since Friday morning. “Obviously the president will continue to say what he says.” Trudeau again denounced Trump’s decision to invoke national security concerns to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel as “insulting” to the Canadian war veterans who had fought alongside US allies.

And he said he told Trump “it would be with regret but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on 1 July, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.” Trudeau also said, “The US will not allow other countries to impose massive tariffs and trade barriers on its farmers, workers and companies. While sending their product into our country tax-free.” He added, “We have put up with trade abuse for many decades, and that is long enough.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs on Monday that she wanted to pay “a particular tribute” to Mr. Trudeau for his leadership and skilful chairing. She said it had been “a difficult summit with, at times, some very candid discussions” and that the UK would honour its commitments in the joint communiqué.

Feature image – https://jkrpos375.wordpress.com

Reference – https://www.wikipedia.com


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