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G7 working on deterring China economic coercion, US envoy says

G7 working on deterring China economic coercion, US envoy says
Signage for the Group of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on the stairs in Niigata, Japan, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Group of Seven countries are working on concrete ways to cooperate against economic coercion from China, US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said just days ahead of the group’s summit.

“Expect more than words and communiques on economic coercion — expect action,” Emanuel said in a tweet posted on Tuesday. “G7 members are developing the tools to deter and defend against China’s economic intimidation and retaliation.”

China is set to be a key focus of discussions at the leaders’ summit, which starts in the western city of Hiroshima on Friday and includes the UK, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and the EU alongside the US and Japan. The group’s trade ministers last month expressed “serious concern” about economic coercion and said they’d explore joint responses to it. 

At the @G7, expect more than words and communiques on economic coercion—expect action. G7 members are developing the tools to deter and defend against China’s economic intimidation and retaliation. Trade and investment should be used as paths to economic prosperity, not political…

— ラーム・エマニュエル駐日米国大使 (@USAmbJapan) May 15, 2023

Emanuel’s comments came amid wrangling among the US — which has advocated for other G7 nations to take stronger positions on Beijing — and European countries that would prefer to focus on coordination and general warnings against coercive behavior. 

The debate reflects the dilemma facing the US, Europe and China’s neighbors such as Japan on how to deal with China’s growing economic clout when their supply chains remain so interlinked with the world’s second-biggest economy. G7 nations are all dependent in some fashion on Chinese goods in key areas.

Read: China targeted in new G7 push against ‘economic coercion’

Beijing has been accused of using trade policy to target countries including Australia, Japan and South Korea over diplomatic disputes. Japan has invited the leaders of both countries and other nations to attend outreach sessions at the summit. 

China has repeatedly hit back at allegations of coercion, saying the US is guilty of using such methods itself. 

G7 negotiators are moving toward a statement that would promise support for countries targeted by economic coercion, public broadcaster NHK said Tuesday, without specifying where it got the information. The leaders’ summit is expected to produce a document on economic coercion separate from the main communique. BM/DM

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