he G7 reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open global trading system at their summit in Brussels, 4-5 June. The opening paragraph of the communique states that these nations “believe in open economies, open societies and open governments, including respect for human rights and the rule of law, as the basis for lasting growth and stability.” The Summit report then opened with the section on the global economy with an emphasis on the universality of issues such as youth unemployment and the need for sustainable growth, which were named as their “top priority”.
There were few specifics as the report reiterated that the G7 remain “committed to strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system” and reaffirmed their “commitment to keep our markets open and to fight all forms of protectionism.” They did, however, allude to a more specific action plan that will be presented at the G20 Summit in Brisbane – this will cover “investment, small and medium enterprises, employment and participation of women, and trade and innovation, in addition to macroeconomic policies.” Hopefully the tone of that report will be in line with the imminent SDGs and weave together the needs and responsibilities of poor and rich countries alike in using trade to facilitate sustainable poverty reduction.
Despite the ongoing proliferation of mega-regional FTAs the G7 still stated their full support to the WTO to “secure swift agreement to a balanced work programme for completing the Doha Round.” There was also a strong commitment to the Trade Facilitation Agreement signed at the WTO Ministerial last December – “we will prioritise full and swift implementation” – as well as maintaining current levels of Aid for Trade – “we will continue to provide, within our current Aid for Trade commitments, substantial support and capacity building to help implement this agreement, in particular to the benefit of the Least Developed Countries.”
There was also a specific pledge acknowledging the importance of trade as a development tool, particularly in Africa – “We will continue to promote inclusive and resilient growth in Africa, working with governments and citizens in Africa to enhance governance and transparency, improve infrastructure, notably in the energy sector, eliminate trade barriers, and facilitate trade and investment.” Again, however, there were no details of how this will play out. It must be hoped that the importance trade received in this Communique will now be translated into action both on a multilateral level, but also through unilateral commitments and a targeting of national aid budgets.
In a statement to the House of Commons following the Summit, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of his pride in hard-wiring the Lough Erne G8 agenda of tax, trade and transparency into international summits for the foreseeable future. Confirming his belief in the use of trade to facilitate development he said, “We will only count for something in the world if we can demonstrate that our model of democracy and open markets can deliver a strong and growing economy, and stability and security………trade has been a great way to lift people out of poverty.”
G7 Statement to HOC by PM on 11th June –read full statement and following Q&A here
The G7 reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open global trading system at their summit in Brussels, 4-5 June. Opening with a statement of their belief in “open economies, open societies and open governments”, the communique reiterated that the G7 remain “committed to strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system” and reaffirmed their “commitment to keep our markets open and to fight all forms of protectionism.”