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G7 Brussels Trade Performance

Kathryn Kotris
G8 Research Group
June 5, 2014

The concurrent theme of the 2014 G7 Brussels Summit was underscored by the leaders' declaration of their shared values of freedom, fairness, human rights, principles of democracy and adherence to the rule of law along with the responsibilities attributed to upholding these values and principles. Although a great deal of attention focused on the crisis in Ukraine, many commitments addressed important geopolitical concerns involving economic growth strategies that include expanding trade agreements and avoiding protectionism. The dominant discussion of the summit had its origins in a free trade agreement; however, there was no mention of the European Union–Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area despite Ukraininan president-elect Petro Poroshenko's assertion of reviving it.

The G7 Brussels Summit Declaration encompassed all aspects of developing a more comprehensive and open global market from financing trade and investments to goods and services. These initiatives include environmental products and technologies through an environmental goods agreement. The leaders emphasized the importance of enhanced trade as a massive job creation and economic growth strategy while preventing the possibilities of economic decline by fighting protectionism. In the context of ensuring open markets through existing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that continue to operate in accordance with the rules-based trading system, the G7 leaders also included a commitment to protect and promote investment in a fair and level playing field and work to swiftly expand the Information Technology Agreement. They have prioritized the full implementation of the Bali package of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in particular the Trade Facilitation Agreement, without delay. This may serve as an impetus to conclude several ongoing trade agreements that would account for approximately 80% of the global economy.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and United States finished its fifth round of negotiations in May 2014, with completion anticipated by December 2014. The Trans-Pacific Partnership involves 12 countries including three G7 members: United States, Canada and Japan. Chief negotiators are scheduled to meet in July 2014, which would bring it closer to finalization. The EU-Japan trade agreement is under a one year review process after the fifth round of negotiations concluded in April 2014. An agreement between the EU and Canada was signed in principle in late 2013; however, final technicalities have yet to be resolved. The Canada-Japan Economic Framework is undergoing renewal and expansion from its origination in 1976. G7 leaders acknowledged reasonable progress in these matters and committed to working to conclude them as soon as possible as an essential component of the G7 job growth and economic revitalization strategy.

The Trade in Services Agreement that involves 23 countries with invitations extended to other WTO members is a work in progress with a near conclusion date as well. The G7 leaders agreed to renew and enhance their support for the aid-for-trade initiatives that include capacity building for least developed countries and encouraged the elimination of trade barriers to increase trade and investment in Africa. This complements their development agenda as well. They also provided their full support to the efforts of the WTO to resume and complete the Doha Round of trade negotiations.

In conclusion, the G7 leaders agreed upon and indeed, strongly encouraged the fulfillment of existing trade agreements and rapid conclusion of pending accords in a concerted effort to stimulate global economic growth and the creation of millions of jobs. They represent countries engaged in these agreements and therefore have the ability to enhance wide-ranging and complementary economic activity by encouraging domestic corporations to undertake expansion to participate in the opportunities provided by larger markets. The rules-based agreements provide the accountability and transparency needed to undertake these initiatives with confidence. The net benefit of fair and legal free trade has proven economic rewards to corporations, individuals and countries. The G7 provided strong encouragement and commitment to provide the framework that corporations need to undertake trade expansion for the benefit of the global economy and its citizens.

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