EXCLUSIVE – G7 summit statement targets China’s ‘economic coercion’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of Seven nations are set to discuss concerns about China’s use of “economic coercion” in its dealings abroad as part of their larger joint statement next week, according to a US official. Familiar with discussions.

The statement, which is a possible component of a public statement that leaders will issue during the May 19-21 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, is expected to be coupled with a broader written proposal on how the seven advanced economies can work together to counter “economic coercion” from any country.

The G7 keynote statement is set to include a “section on China” with a list of concerns that include “economic coercion and other behavior we’ve seen specifically from [People’s Republic of China]the official said on Friday.

The source said the “separate Economic Security Statement will talk more about the tools” used to counter coercive efforts from any responsible country, including planning and coordination. In each case, the data is expected to go further than previous data by the G7.

US President Joe Biden has made China the centerpiece of his foreign policy, working to keep the tense and competitive relationship from descending into open conflict, including over autonomous Taiwan.

The G7, which also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, is closely linked economically to China, the world’s largest exporter and a key market for many of the G7’s companies.

Last month, China called a G7 foreign ministers’ statement that touched on similar topics “full of arrogance and prejudice against China,” and made complaints to this year’s G7 host Japan.

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Under Biden’s predecessor, President Donald Trump, G7 statements often provided only a cursory reference to issues related to China. The Biden administration has pressed for more direct statements.

The joint statement that all G7 leaders issue each year aims to signal that strong nations align on a range of political and economic issues.

The G7 members will also raise prospects for further cooperation with China in areas such as climate.

“We do not support the separation between the US and Chinese economies, we support risk taking, we are for diversification,” the US official said. “This principle is very unifying.”

Negotiations over the exact language of the leaders’ joint declarations are still subject to diplomacy and modification before they are issued during the summit.

China G7 Alliance tests

The G7 meeting will be a test of how much the members, and all the rich democracies, agree on a common approach to China, the world’s second largest economy.

China terms have been a major topic of talks currently underway by G7 financial leaders in Niigata, Japan, as they focus on reducing the “over-reliance” of their countries’ supply chains on Chinese manufacturing, including through partnership with middle-income countries.

said Josh Lipsky, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Center for GeoEconomics.

In particular, some G7 members are skeptical about entering controls on outward investment in China.

The policies are formulated in part to help prevent China’s military from accessing tools it could use to achieve technological supremacy, and many in the Biden administration see them as complementary to export controls that restrict access to some semiconductors with a similar goal.

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“Of course, every member of the G-7 is going to make their way to some degree on China, and with that there is also a set of kind of principles that unite the G-7 in a common approach to China,” the US official said.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, while traveling to attend the G7 financial meeting in Japan, said China has clearly used economic coercion with Australia and Lithuania.

Commenting on the meeting was the lack of progress in resolving the US debt ceiling crisis. A meeting scheduled for Friday between Biden and top lawmakers has been pushed back to early next week as Democrats and Biden Republicans seek a compromise to avoid a catastrophic stumble.

However, US officials expect the president to attend the two-day summit as planned, followed by trips to Papua New Guinea and Australia also aimed at bolstering Washington’s approach to the China-dominated Asia-Pacific region.

(Reporting by Trevor Honeycutt). Edited by Heather Timmons

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