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The G7 is concerned about trade restrictions imposed by Russia and China

The G7 is concerned about trade restrictions imposed by Russia and China

The G7 on Sunday reiterated its adherence to “free and fair” international trade, and condemned Russian pressure on Ukrainian wheat exports and recent restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood products, without mentioning China by name.

Trade ministers from major industrial democracies, meeting this weekend in Osaka, western Japan, stressed “the fundamental need for fair competition in international trade relations” and the importance of “a free and fair trading system based on the rule of law.”

They particularly “regretted and condemned Russia’s destruction of Ukrainian grain export infrastructure”, after Moscow in July refused to renew an agreement that allowed Kiev to export its grain, which is crucial to global food security, and bombed Ukraine’s grain infrastructure and ports.

The G7 ministers (France, Japan, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) also called for the “immediate repeal of all measures that unnecessarily restrict trade,” in particular imports of Japanese food products, targeting Beijing and Moscow without naming them.

China and Russia recently suspended their imports of Japanese seafood products due to Tokyo’s discharge of water into the sea from the site of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant (northeastern Japan), which was destroyed by the tsunami in 2011.

The G7 stressed that “it is important that restrictions on the import of food products are based on scientific data” and comply with international rules, while the water discharge from Fukushima has been validated by the International Water and Atomic Energy Agency.

Discussions during the two-day summit focused more generally on “economic coercion” and anti-competitive practices through which some countries use economic sanctions to pressure others, again a veiled reference to China.

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The G7, whose countries want to reduce their dependence on imports, especially from China and Russia, stressed “the need for continued efforts to create resilient and reliable supply chains for essential commodities such as critical metals, semiconductors and batteries.”

Discussions over the weekend also focused on food security, climate change and World Trade Organization reform.