A Group of Seven summit this weekend in France is likely to end without a joint communique because of gaps between member states on trade, a Japanese government official said on Tuesday.
This will be the first time that the G7 summit may end without a statement since the meetings began in 1975, underscoring the rift caused by US President Donald Trump’s trade policies among the G7 advanced economies.
“It’s crucial for everyone to create a common understanding through thorough debate. But it’s hard to deliver messages to the rest of the world when a communique isn’t going to be issued,” an official said, confirming a previous NHK report that there was no plan yet to issue a statement after the G7 meeting.
The summit, to be held in the southwestern French city of Biarritz on Aug. 24-26, comes at a time when the US-China trade war and volatile financial markets are putting pressure on policymakers to step up efforts to avert a global recession.
Finding common ground among allies has become increasingly difficult at the annual summit with the United States, which is even more superior in its approach to trade and environment disputes. Last year, Trump threw G7’s efforts to show a united front by leaving early and backtracking on a joint statement, undermining what appears to be a fragile consensus on the trade dispute between Washington and its key allies.
Trump has expressed a preference for bilateral trade agreements over multilateral agreements and is engaged in a long trade war with China. He also took the United States out of the historic Paris Agreement to limit the effects of climate change on European opposition.
As chair of the Group of Seven this year, France is keen to make progress in a global debate on the taxation of digital giants. However, leaders are unlikely to break new ground at the summit, the official added.
The G7 groups are the United States, France, Britain, Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada and the European Union.