G-7 trade ministers pledge to increase supply chain resilience

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Trade ministers of the Group of Seven Advanced Economies agreed on Thursday to strengthen supply chain resilience for vital commodities, including crucial minerals, amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union, said in a statement after meeting in Germany that recent crises have highlighted “systemic vulnerabilities to chronic risks and acute shocks in supply chains”. that impede economic growth and security.

“We, the G-7 trade ministers, underline that diversifying trade and expanding trade relations on a mutually beneficial basis is critical to ensuring well-functioning supply chains and improving resilience and sustainability of our economies.”

Participants of a meeting of the group of seven trade ministers pose for a photo on September 14, 2022 in Neuhardenberg, Germany. Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura is third from the right. (Getty/TBEN)

Factories in Europe and elsewhere began reporting production problems in the early months of 2020 following the spread of the coronavirus in China, and disruptions across global supply chains, exacerbated by limited logistics movement. The situation was exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February this year.

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Prior to the meeting in Brandenburg, near the German capital Berlin, the host country’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, emphasized the importance of supporting Ukraine.

Yulia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade, attended the meeting and asked for support to achieve a safe living environment and stable employment opportunities for Ukrainians.

“We continue to condemn Russia’s brutal, unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine,” the G-7 ministers said, adding that they will expand coordinated efforts to prevent Moscow from profiting from its aggression and to Russia’s ability to fight the war.

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Ministers also said that supply chains should promote their climate goals and sustainable use of resources, as the G-7 countries have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Meanwhile, ministers expressed concern about certain trade practices, such as intellectual property theft, market-distorting actions by state-owned companies and harmful industrial subsidies.

The statement did not mention China by name, but there were clear concerns about the country’s trade practices.

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“To combat attempts at economic coercion and reaffirm the commitment of G-7 leaders, we will strengthen cooperation and explore coordinated approaches to address economic coercion both within and outside the G-7 in relevant fora,” the statement said.

At the one-day meeting at Neuhardenberg Castle, ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to reviving and reforming the World Trade Organization – which is often criticized as having become bogged down in dysfunction – and modernizing its rulebook.