G7 nations to take tougher line on trade with China

Sep 15, 2022, 6:46 AM | Updated: 7:03 am
Robert Habeck, third left,  Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, receives ...

Robert Habeck, third left, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, receives Yulia Zvyrydenko, fourth left, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine, Yasutoshi Nishimura, third from right, Minister of Economy of Japan, Kenji Yamada, left, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Manlio Di Stefano, second from right, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Mary Ng, second from left, Minister of Trade of Canada, Olivier Becht, fourth from right, Minister of Trade of France, Katherine Tai, right, Trade Representative of the United States, and Jo Crellin, right,, Minister of Trade of Canada.vl), Minister of Trade of Canada, Olivier Becht Minister of Trade of France, Katherine Tai, middle, Trade Representative of the United States, and Jo Crellin, right, Director General at the Department for International Trade of the United Kingdom, pose for a family photo at the beginning of the G7 Trade Ministers meeting at Neuhardenberg Castle on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 in Neuhardenberg. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

(Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — The Group of Seven major economies have agreed to take a tougher, more coordinated stance toward China when it comes to trade, Germany’s economy minister said Thursday.

After a two-day meeting with fellow G-7 officials, Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck told reporters that discussions about China were part of an effort to ensure high international trade standards and to prevent Beijing from using its economic might to steamroll other nations.

“The naivety toward China is over,” Habeck said, referring to Germany’s own position on China. “The time when one said ‘Trade, no matter what,’ regardless of the social or humanitarian standards, … is something we shouldn’t allow ourselves anymore.”

He said Germany would work to persuade the European Union to establish “a more robust trade policy toward China and respond as Europeans to the coercive measures that China takes to protect its economy.”

“The other partner countries will do exactly the same,” Habeck said, adding that the G-7 members – which also include Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United States – agreed to coordinate their respective actions.

In a joint statement following the meeting at Neuhardenberg Palace, east of Berlin, the G-7 didn’t explicitly name China.

The statement expressed concerns about “unfair practices, such as all forms of forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, lowering of labor and environmental standards to gain competitive advantage, market-distorting actions of state-owned enterprises, and harmful industrial subsidies, including those that lead to excess capacity.”

The group also pledged to continue seeking a reform of the World Trade Organization. The United States has been particularly wary of subjecting itself to the Geneva-based body’s jurisdiction on trade matters.

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G7 nations to take tougher line on trade with China