Trade and economic officials from the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy democracies, meeting in Osaka, Japan, on Sunday, reiterated their commitment to ensuring smooth supply chains for essential items such as energy and food, even in the face of global uncertainties. They pledged to uphold a “free and fair trading system based on the rule of law” and to enhance economic resilience and security, as stated in a joint statement.
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, one of the event’s co-hosts, emphasized the importance of democratic values, inclusiveness, and human rights, particularly in the context of ongoing global challenges.
Concerns are growing among developed nations about maintaining stable supplies of critical items like computer chips and minerals such as lithium, which are vital in the era of electric vehicles and green energy.
In addition to the G7 nations (the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Britain), the meeting also included the European Union, Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, and Kenya. Economic organizations like the World Trade Organization were also involved.
During the meeting, there was a focus on how trade policies could contribute to addressing climate change, strengthening food security, promoting digital trade, and working towards sustainable development.
Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal from India urged the G7 governments to collaborate on creating a regulatory framework to facilitate the movement of supply chains and cross-border trade. Goyal discussed enhancing supply chain resilience, emphasizing the vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical events and suggested public-private partnerships, investment in critical infrastructure, innovation, digitalization of supply chains, supply chain diversification, and skills development.
Bilateral agreements were reached during the event, including one between Britain and Japan to cooperate on mineral supply chains for clean energy and national defense. Japan and the EU also agreed on digital data exchanges to facilitate digital sector trade. Foreign Minister Kamikawa discussed the importance of women’s roles on the G7 stage with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
The G7, representing over half of global network wealth, 30-43% of global GDP, and 10% of the world’s population, sees India as a potentially valuable ally in strengthening supply chains for critical materials.