Group of Seven Nations (G7) have adopted the G7 Digital Trade Principles that will guide the G7’s approach to digital trade.
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What is G7?
The G7 or the Group of Seven is a group of the seven most advanced economies as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The seven countries are Canada, the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Italy.
International organisations are an important part of the UPSC Syllabus. In this article, G7, an international grouping is discussed along with its recent development.
G7 Summit 2022 – Latest Update
- India joins the G7 and 4 other nations to defend free expression “online and offline.”
- G7 leaders present a $600 billion plan to compete with China’s BRI in underdeveloped countries.
- The Indian Prime Minister asks G7 members to invest in India’s developing clean energy market.
- The 48th G7 Summit was held between 6th June 2022 and 28th June 2022 in Schloss Elmau, Krun, Bavarian Alps, Germany. The summit was important as it was the first such after the onslaught of the Russia-Ukraine war. India along was also one of the six invited guest countries.
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G7 Digital Trade Principles
These principles were agreed upon in the meeting of G7 trade ministers in London, in October 2021.
- It will govern cross-border data use and digital trade.
- The following issues are covered in the G7 Digital Trade Principles:
- Open digital markets
- Cross border data flows
- Safeguards for workers, consumers, and businesses
- Digital trading systems; and
- Fair and inclusive global governance
This agreement on digital trade principles intends to establish a middle ground between highly regulated data protection regimes used in European countries and the more open approach of the United States.
48th G7 Summit 2022
Held in June 2022 in the United Kingdom. The Indian Prime Minister and heads of governments from Argentina, Indonesia, Ukraine, Senegal and South Africa were also invited as the guest nations to the 48th Summit. Climate change, energy, and other concerns affecting developing democracies like food security, health, counterterrorism, gender equality, and democracy were discussed by these nations. The meeting was overshadowed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been going on for four months at this point. Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for the very first time in weeks just hours after the event began.
Insights from the summit meeting are summarised here:
G7 on Russia-Ukraine Crisis
Even though the stability of ruling governments throughout Europe has been threatened by rising energy prices, the Group of Seven emphasised their commitment to supporting Ukraine. The leaders declared that they would forbid all gold imports from Russia, one of the top five gold exporters in the world. In order to reduce Moscos’ oil earnings, additional discussions focused on restricting the price of Russian crude and oil. Rising energy prices have increased the value of Russian exports, keeping Russia’s treasury afloat.
G7 on China
While China has no friends because of its booming economic power and increasingly assertive diplomacy, Russia has become the pariah of the western world. US Vice President Joe Biden announced the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure,” in which the US and the EU will each contribute $634 billion to the development of national infrastructure. Despite not being stated officially, it is clear that the programme is one way the west is attempting to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The German Chancellor and the Prime Minister of Italy have instead called for additional investments in natural gas to get through the current energy crisis. Some of the nations anticipate that the investments will enable countries to wean themselves off of their reliance on fossil fuels.
G7 on Climate Change
Just like the net-zero as well as nature compact pledges, the German president has floated the idea of a “climate club,” which seeks to forge a worldwide alliance among nations to strengthen cooperation on fulfilling their Paris Agreement commitments. Governments and the business sector would collaborate through the climate club to advance three key goals: pricing pollution, greening heavy industry and boosting the trade of low-carbon goods. The G7 ministers in charge of the environment, energy, and climate met in Berlin prior to the summit to discuss the intensified effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on energy systems and the battle against climate change. The ministers agreed to a multilateral response to maintain world energy security and assist partners who might find themselves in difficult situations as a result of the gas pressure. The ministers agreed that if we want to stay below 1.5 °C, industrial decarbonisation must be accelerated, as high-emitting industries account for 30 % of global emissions.
G7 on Free Speech
The “2022 Resilient Democracies Statement,” which was signed by India, the G7, and four invited nations, vowed to “defend the freedom, independence, and variety of civil society actors” and “protect the freedom of expression as well as opinion online and offline.” The signatories claimed that democracies promote legitimacy, transparency, responsibility, and accountability for both citizens and elected officials by enabling “open public debate, independent and pluralistic media,” and the “free flow of information online and offline”.
The signatories are resolved to
- By cooperating with pertinent international projects, we are able to defend the right to free speech both online and offline and ensure a free and independent media environment.
- Ensuring an accessible, unrestricted, universal, interoperable, and secure internet.
- By sharing and enhancing knowledge of cyber threats, expanding cyber response cooperation, and other measures, digital infrastructure can become more resilient to cyberattacks.
- Combating hybrid threats, especially information intervention and manipulation, including misinformation.
- Working together to defend our common democratic principles around the world, promote correct information, and combat information manipulation.
- Fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration, improving digital literacy and skills, and facilitating inexpensive access to a variety of trustworthy information and data sources both online and offline.
Increasing the openness of online platforms’ operations to fight violent, extremists, and
According to the statement, democracies establish the groundwork for open, vibrant public spaces and safeguard them. They also enable and promote political involvement and civic engagement, which in turn foster meaningful legitimacy, innovation, and social accountability.
- Keeping civil society actors autonomous, independent, and diverse; speaking out against threats to public space, and upholding the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
- Fostering resistance to acts of transnational coercion and malicious foreign meddling that aim to erode public confidence in the government, society, and media, shrinking civic space, and muzzle dissenting voices.
- Advancing initiatives to protect people who fight for human rights and those who expose corruption.
Additionally, the nations agreed to “promote interfaith dialogue” and “protect freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief” as well as “encourage social cohesion, solidarity, and the inclusion of all members of society, both online and off while denouncing all types of discrimination and violence”.
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47th G7 Summit 2021
- Held in June 2021 in the United Kingdom. The Indian Prime Minister and representatives from South Korea, South Africa, and Australia were also invited as the guest nations to the 47th Summit. Read about India-UK Relations in the linked article
- The Objective of the 47th G7 Summit was to unite leading democracies to help the world build back better from the coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future. It is aimed at:
- International pressure has also been built on the G7 countries to contribute funds towards climate change and the provision of surplus Covid-19 vaccines for economically weaker countries. This was one of the causes of concern for the 7 countries as they themselves have faced severe economic losses during the pandemic period.
- Discussion over raising funds for climate finance was another key issue that was taken care of during the 47th G7 Summit
- India is a natural ally for the G7.
- The Prime Minister of India called for a “one earth, one health” approach to deal with the global pandemic situation and also conveyed India’s commitment to finding a “collective” solution to global health challenges. He also highlighted the need to keep raw materials for manufacturing vaccines easily available.
- In order to boost vaccine production in countries like India, India emphasizes maintaining open supply chains for procuring vaccine raw materials.
- The Prime Minister also sought support from G7 nations for the TRIPS waiver proposal moved by India and South Africa at the WTO. The waiver is expected to increase the production of vaccines in India.
Other G7 Agenda in 47th Summit
- The leaders of G7 resented China’s behaviour towards the Uyghur community in its Xinjiang region, autonomy in Hong Kong, and the situation in the East and South China Seas. The nations have asked China to show respect for the human rights of minorities.
- The nations also encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues across the Taiwan Strait, as it has caused instability and lack of peace in the region.
- The G7 leaders also recommended a more transparent science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 investigation on the origin of COVID-19, amid allegations that a likely laboratory leak in Wuhan city may have a connection with the start of the pandemic.
- To counter China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the G7 nations have decided to support developing countries on a global infrastructure plan. On similar lines, the US President proposed the “Build Back Better World” (B3W) initiative to counter China’s BRI.
- The nations in the summit are also concerned with promoting future prosperity by advocating free and fair trade, tackling climate change and conserving the planet’s biodiversity, embracing our shared values in open societies, and strengthening our partnership.
All government exam aspirants can get a comprehensive List of Important Summits in 2021 at the linked article along with their themes and venues.
Overview of the G7
The Group of Seven is an informal bloc of advanced/developed nations which meets annually to discuss matters such as global economic policy, international security, and energy policy, among others. Critics are of the opinion that the decisions and discussions in the annual summits lack follow-through and excludes important emerging powers.
History of the G7
- The concept of a forum for the world’s major industrialized countries emerged before the 1973 oil crisis.
- In 1975, a summit hosted by France brought together representatives of six governments: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Helmut Schmidt and Valéry 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).
- The Group of Six (G6), consisting of leading industrial countries, met in 1975 for the first time to discuss the huge economic problems such as oil shock and the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system faced by the world in the 1970s.
- Canada joined the G6 group in 1976, which henceforth became Group of Seven (G7).
- Beyond discussing the economic problems, G7 started to show interests in foreign and security policy issues in the 1980s.
- The role of Russia:
- 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. Despite not being a major economic power according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- However, the Russia was ejected from the G8 political forum in March 2014, following its annexation of Crimea.
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Composition of the G7
The G7 is composed of the seven wealthiest advanced countries. Various reports suggest that the G7 (without the European Union) represents above 62% of the global net wealth. Including the EU the G7 represents over 70% of the global net wealth.
Group of 7 – G7 Summit Participation:
- Summits are held annually and hosted on a rotation basis by the group’s members.
- The leaders of important international organizations like the European Union, IMF, World Bank and the United Nations are also invited.
- The groundwork for the summit, including matters to be discussed and follow-up meetings, is done by the “sherpas”, who are generally personal representatives of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7 countries such as ambassadors.
- Why China is not a member of the G7?
- The People’s Republic of China, according to its data, would be the second-largest with 16.4% of the world net wealth but is excluded because the IMF and other main global institutions do not consider China an advanced country and because of its relatively low net wealth per adult and HDI.
Challenges Faced by G7 Members
- There are a number of disagreements in the Group of 7 internally, e.g. clash of the USA with other members over taxes on imports and action on climate change.
- It is also facing a challenge from fast-growing emerging economies like India and Brazil are not members of the G7. However, In 1999, G20 was formed to bring more countries on board to address global economic concerns. You can know in detail about the G20 Summits in the link provided here.
- G7 The organization has also been criticized for not reflecting the current state of global politics or economics.
Facts about the members of G7
Here we give you some brief facts about a few members of G8 nations
- All the 7 are top-ranked advanced economies with the current largest GDP and with the highest national wealth (United States, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada).
- The G7 are among the 15 top-ranked countries with the highest net wealth per capita (United States, France, Japan, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Germany).
- All the 7 are leaders when it comes to export
- 5 members of the G-7 have the largest proven reserves of gold (United States, Germany, Italy, France, Japan).
- All 5 of the members of the NATO Quint ( The Quint is the informal decision making body of NATO consisting of the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy) and Canada is also a member of Five Eyes intelligence gathering body with the U.S. and U.K.
- 6 of the 9 largest nuclear energy producers (United States, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, UK), although Germany announced in 2011 that it will close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Japan shut down all of its nuclear reactors. However, Japan restarted several nuclear reactors, with the refuelling of other reactors underway.
- There are no G7 members from Africa, Latin America, or the southern hemisphere.
The requirements to be a member of the G7 are a high net national wealth and a high HDI (Human Development Index). The G7 also accounts for 46% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculated at market exchange rates and also for 32% of the global PPP GDP.
Frequently Asked Questions about the G7 and other multinational groupings:
What countries are in G7?
Why is China not in G7?
Is it G7 or G8 now?
What is G7 and G20?
Why was the G7 created?
What issues does the G7 address?
What are the advantages of the G7 forum?
The G7 offers a unique framework: its select and informal membership allows the leaders of the seven powers to engage in frank and direct dialogue.
The effectiveness of this dialogue draws on a basis of shared values within the group: democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, free markets, and respect for international law. This possibility of free expression and these shared values make it possible to tackle sensitive subjects where consensus may be lacking.
Is the G7 in competition with the UN?
Has the G20 replaced the G7?
Why has the G8 become the G7?
What role do non-State stakeholders play?
How does the G7 work?
What are the outcomes of G7 Summits?
How is the G7 Presidency chosen?
Apart from its members, who takes part in G7 meetings?
What do the G7 members represent collectively?
The G7 members currently represent close to 40% of global GDP and 10% of the world’s population. When the group was created in 1975, it represented 70% of the global GDP.
The G7 members are all members of the G20. The G7, therefore, plays a “pilot” role where initiatives can be prepared in a select group before being adopted by the G20, the members of which represent 85% of global economic production and two-thirds of the world’s inhabitants.
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