The Group of Seven (G7) countries' leaders are preparing to discuss their concerns regarding China's use of “economic coercion” in its international dealings. According to a U.S. official familiar with the discussions, this topic will be included in the G7's joint statement, which is expected to be released during the upcoming summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
The statement will contain a specific section dedicated to China, listing concerns such as economic coercion and other problematic behavior exhibited by the People's Republic of China. Additionally, a separate “economic security statement” will outline the tools and strategies the G7 intends to employ to counter coercive efforts by any country, emphasizing planning and coordination. These statements are anticipated to be more forceful than previous G7 declarations.
The focus on China aligns with U.S. President Joe Biden's foreign policy objectives, as he aims to maintain a tense yet non-confrontational relationship with China, including the contentious issue of Taiwan. It is worth noting that the G7 countries, which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have significant economic ties with China, being heavily reliant on its market as the world's largest exporter.
China responded to a recent statement by the G7 foreign ministers, criticizing it as “full of arrogance” and lodging complaints with Japan, the host of this year's G7 summit. Under the previous administration of President Donald Trump, G7 statements seldom addressed China-related matters in detail, but the Biden administration has advocated for more explicit statements.
The G7 leaders' joint statement, released annually, serves as a signal that these powerful nations are in alignment on various political and economic issues. The upcoming summit will serve as a test of the extent to which these rich democracies can agree on a unified approach to China, the world's second-largest economy.
Negotiations surrounding the precise wording of the joint declarations are ongoing and subject to diplomatic adjustments before the summit commences. The G7 finance leaders, currently meeting in Japan, have already discussed reducing reliance on Chinese manufacturing within their supply chains, potentially partnering with low- and middle-income countries to achieve this objective.
While the United States aims to solidify specific agreements, some G7 members remain cautious about committing to controls on outbound investment in China. The proposed policies are designed, in part, to prevent China from gaining military access to tools that could contribute to technological superiority. The Biden administration views these measures as complementary to export controls restricting access to certain semiconductors, which share the same objective.
Despite ongoing challenges, the U.S. officials anticipate President Biden's attendance at the two-day summit, followed by visits to Papua New Guinea and Australia to strengthen Washington's approach in the Asia-Pacific region, which is dominated by China.