G7 vows action against 'unfair' China business practices

Leaders discussed concerns over China's excess industrial capacity distorting local markets

REUTERS June 14, 2024


Leaders of the Group of Seven vowed on Friday to tackle what they called unfair business practices by China that were undermining their workers and industries, according to a draft statement on the final day of their annual summit.

The G7 also warned of action against Chinese financial institutions that helped Russia obtain weaponry for its war against Ukraine.

The leaders of Italy, the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan were on Friday discussing concerns surrounding China's excess industrial capacity, which Western governments say is distorting local markets.

Pope Francis was then due to make a historic appearance at the summit in southern Italy to discuss artificial intelligence.

The draft statement, seen by Reuters, stressed the G7 was not trying to harm China or thwart its economic development but would "continue to take actions to protect our businesses from unfair practices, to level the playing field and remedy ongoing harm."

The U.S. this week imposed fresh sanctions on China-based firms supplying semiconductors to Russia amid worries over Beijing's increasingly aggressive stance against Taiwan and run-ins with the Philippines over rival maritime claims.

"China is not supplying weapons (to Russia) but the ability to produce those weapons and the technology available to do it, so it is in fact helping Russia," U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters at the summit on Thursday after signing a bilateral security pact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

During the first day of their meeting in southern Italy, the G7 nations agreed on a deal to provide $50 billion of loans for Ukraine backed by interest from frozen Russian assets - hailing the accord as a powerful signal of Western resolve.

In the draft, G7 leaders also promised sanctions against entities that helped Russia circumvent sanctions on its oil by transporting it fraudulently.

Abortion wording row

The draft reiterated commitments made at the G7 meeting in Japan last year on sexual and reproductive rights but did not directly mention the word abortion.

The issue has caused a dispute between France and Italy after Rome - which holds the G7 rotating presidency - demanded the removal of a reference to "safe and legal abortion" from the final statement.

The pope will be joined by 10 other heads of state and government, including the prime minister of India and the king of Jordan, as the G7 throws open its doors to outsiders to show it isn't an aloof, exclusive club.

Besides his speech on AI, the Pope will hold multiple bilateral meetings, including with Biden, Zelenskiy and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

"It is a historic day. We will welcome the Holy Father. It is the first time for a pontiff at a G7. I am proud it will happen under the Italian presidency," Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told reporters on Thursday.

Leaders will also discuss immigration, a crucial issue for Meloni who is pushing Europe to help her curb illegal flows from Africa and who has launched a flagship plan to boost development in the continent to tackle the root cause of the departures.

Many of the leaders will leave Italy late on Friday, including Biden, and Meloni said they had already agreed on the summit's conclusions, to be approved at the end of the day.

On Saturday, there will be room for bilateral meetings for those staying on, ahead of a final news conference from Meloni.



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