On the agenda for this week’s G7 Summit are discussions on a number of important topics; however, the most important will undoubtedly be how to handle China’s economic incentives, or as some refer to it, “coercion”. Several of the world’s strongest and wealthiest democracies attend this meeting, all as close allies. However, with recent comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron and the political rifts in Europe, many fear the deliberations on how to approach the “China issue”, will not be as unambiguous as hoped.
One of the primary concerns for Western leaders has been an “over-reliance” on Chinese goods and suppliers. There also remains a staunch disagreement on how to approach a growing China, with the United States seeking to stifle its growth and nations like France wishing to work cooperatively to form international unions for mutual benefit. Concerns over the Chinese military and an economically dominated South Pacific have also been addressed as major problems for the western front.
Ultimately, the only real consensus the G7 nations have reached is a refusal to work with China on environmental issues. Otherwise, each nation seemingly wants to approach China in different and individualistic ways. Many experts fear that this disunified front will falter against a giant like China, leaving only the United States able to properly compete.
Regardless, Washington and the European Union have pledged joint action against Chinese influence, albeit tentatively. These actions include monitoring exports that have military uses, curbing trade with strategic rivals, and disallowing foreign companies to invest in domestic industry. Washington is also drafting policies to deny China sensitive goods that can be used for their military as the United States, Japan, and Australia work together to curb pacific expansionism.
The EU has promised to align itself with American trade to protect its own markets while simultaneously pulling away from China.
However, some countries remain skeptical about monitoring outbound trade with China, as it will likely damage their own economies. Many developing nations rely on both Chinese and American economics to flourish, and recent tensions among Western nations have shown that even some European countries are wary of an overreliance on either American or Chinese industry.