Trade and economy officials from the Group of Seven (G-7) wealthy democracies reaffirmed their commitment on Sunday to collaborate in ensuring the smooth functioning of supply chains for essential goods such as energy and food, despite prevailing global uncertainties.
In a joint statement, these nations pledged to uphold "a free and fair-trading system based on the rule of law and enhancing economic resilience and economic security."
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, co-host of the two-day event held in Osaka, highlighted recent global challenges, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict, as threats to stable energy and food supplies. She emphasized the shared values of responsibility among democratic nations in addressing growing uncertainties, emphasizing democracy, inclusiveness, and human rights.
Developed nations are increasingly concerned about ensuring a stable supply of computer chips and essential minerals like lithium, crucial for the growing demand for electric vehicles and green energy.
The G-7 comprises the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The European Union, Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, and Kenya were invited to participate in the two-day meeting, along with economic organizations such as the World Trade Organization.
The G-7 nations reiterated their condemnation of what they described as "Russia's brutal, unprovoked, unjustifiable, and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine."
Discussions at the meeting covered topics such as how trade policy can contribute to addressing climate change, strengthening food security, promoting digital trade, and advancing sustainable development.
Although China was not directly mentioned during the meetings, the nation was a focal point of discussions. China has imposed export restrictions on gallium and germanium, metals used in computer chips and solar cells, citing national security concerns.
The term "economic coercion," previously used at the G-7 summit in Hiroshima earlier this year in reference to China's leveraging of economic dependence, was reiterated at the Osaka G-7.
As the host nation, Japan addressed China's ban on imports of Japanese seafood, following a large release of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which experienced reactor meltdowns in 2011. Japan expressed support from G-7 nations and plans to continue advocating for the lifting of food bans, emphasizing the safety of Japanese food based on scientific evidence.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, the Japanese minister in charge of trade and the economy, noted that guest nations like Australia and India, which participated in the G-7 meeting, could be valuable allies in strengthening supply chains for essential materials.
Bilateral agreements on the sidelines included a partnership between Britain and Japan to collaborate on mineral-supply chains essential for clean energy and national defense.
Additionally, Japan reached an agreement with the European Union on digital data exchanges, reaffirming their commitment to work together on standards facilitating digital-sector trade.
Foreign Minister Kamikawa also met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to reaffirm bilateral ties in support of a "free and fair economic order." They also discussed the importance of promoting women's roles on the G-7 stage.