Written by Clement Ng

What was on the table?

The “Group of Seven” (G7) summit is where the world’s largest economies come together to discuss a wide array of world issues. It currently includes the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, France and Italy. Together they amount to about 40% of global GDP and 10% of the world’s population.

This year’s G7 was hosted by France and ran from 24 – 26 August. While France’s President Emmanuel Macron intended for this year’s summit to focus on reducing inequality, other controversial issues took centre stage. The burning Amazon rainforest, US-Iran tensions, US-China trade war and Hong Kong were some of the hotly discussed topics.

What came of it?

The G7 pledged US$20 million to help Brazil fight the Amazon wildfires. Unfortunately, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro did not take kindly to the group discussing the issue without him, calling it a “colonialist mentality”. Macron responded by calling him a “liar” over his pledge to fight global warming in June, which prompted Bolsonaro to insult Macron’s wife. Bolsonaro rejected the aid, demanding that Macron withdraw his “insults” before he would consider accepting it. 

The G7 weighed in on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, expressing “deep concern” for the violence. Collectively, they called for everyone to chill out, and supported Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one-country, two-systems framework”. China was salty about this, saying that other nations should mind their own business.

US President Donald Trump turned heads by suggesting Russia, which was kicked out of the G7 (FKA G8) for annexing Crimea, be readmitted, and by failing to attend the summit on climate change. He also influenced Macron to end the G7 without a communiqué or joint statement as Macron wanted to avoid a repeat of last year’s G7, where Trump refused to sign it. The US did score some wins, however, with China ready to reopen negotiations on the trade war and Trump being open to discussing the nuclear deal with Iran again.

If you want to find out more about the drama during this year’s G7, check out Time’s write-up of the summit.

Clement is an NUS Life Science student. "Life" here meaning biology, as opposed to "life of the party" or "living the life". He has a particular interest in US politics, which generally means he is particularly miserable. Regardless, he is a strong believer in keeping informed, and hopes to encourage his peers and readers to do so.

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