Trade rifts, protectionism expected to beset G7 summit in Biarritz

Leaders from the G7 advanced economies will meet today in Biarritz for a summit likely to focus on global trade,

G7 summit 2019

Photo: Reuters/Charles Platiau

Leaders from the G7 advanced economies will meet today in Biarritz for a summit likely to focus on global trade, Brexit and environmental issues. Reporting suggests that this G7 summit will be the first to end without a traditional joint communique since its inception in 1975.

Rifts on trade between G7 countries – particularly the emerging protectionist policies adopted by the US, UK and Italy – lie at the heart of the discord in Biarritz.

Leaders are likely to use the weekend as an opportunity to steer US President Donald Trump away from an intensification in the trade war with China amid serious concern about the global economic fallout. Germany’s potential looming recession coupled with predicted ramifications from a hard Brexit pose serious risks for the global economy.

Another reason that would prevent a likely communique is the shift some of the member states have taken away from multilateral trade and towards bilateral negotiations, evidenced by recent policy from the US and the UK.

It is to be expected that disagreements over Iran and Brexit will likely impede a joint communique as well. One area of potential multilateral progress, spearheaded by Macron and Trump, could be inviting Russia back to the G7 table.

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