When the world had first experienced the energy (oil) shortage in the70’s, its impact was a world financial crisis (recession) . Upon initiation by French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the heads of the six leading economies and industrial nations (with U.S., U.K., Italy and Japan) met in 1975 for the first time to discuss how the global economy could be managed to maintain its stability, and more importantly. to maintain the prosperity of the rich G6. The G6 summit meeting was held at the Chateau de Rambouillet, 50 kilometers southwest of Paris where they declared a Fifteen Points Communique. In 1976 G6 became G7 included Canada. In 1977, the President of European Commission attended the summit and now the President of European Council also attends. In 1998, Russia was invited in but following the Russian annexation of Crimea, the G7 nations decided in March 2014 to meet without Russia essentially excluded Russia indefinitely.
Interestingly, China had never been invited to G7, even after her economy has surpassed six of the seven members’ economies. This certainly has to do with the U.S. dominated leadership in G7, maintaining an ‘anti-China Rising’ policy. This year, the rotating host of G7 turns to the U.S., that means, President Trump will be the host. Due to the Pandemic COVID-19 infection occurring world-wide, this year’s G7 must take special precaution. That is why the selection of location and timing of the 2020 G7 Summit becomes so uncertain. Of course, the invitee list and agenda (purpose of meeting) are always important for G7 each year. In the past, many developing and underdeveloped countries were invited as guests. Only Russia, invited in 1997, ever became a member in 1998 making the group known as G8, but G8 ended in 2014.
The selection of a hosting site for 2020 G7 was somewhat controversial. The U.S. secret service has researched ten sites and recommended four choices, Hawaii, Utah, California and North Carolina but Trump suggested Trump National Doral Resort in Miami and was announced by his Chief of Staff on October 1, 2019. There were immediate bi-partisan criticisms (some people raised the issue of violating constitution and conflict of interest) on that choice, then Trump scratched that idea through Twitter blaming the media. On December 3rd, it was then announced that the 46th G7 would be held at Camp David, the same place for 38th G7. Then COVID-19 pandemic broke out sweeping the world with the U.S. being a severely affected country. Trump canceled the G7 replacing it with a video conference, but later said a physical meeting could still be held in the White House or at Camp David. On May 31st, German Chancellor Merkel declined Trump’s invitation citing COVID-19 concern. Then Trump delayed G7 at least to September. In the meantime, Macron of France called and emphasized all seven members should be attending a physical meeting in person and so agreed Boris Johnson of Britain.
Last year, the G7 was held in August in Briartz, France. It now appears that the 2020 G7 will be held at the White House but at a delayed date. It is just impossible to hold a physical meeting with seven world leaders plus a number of guests during a pandemic. On the invitee list, Trump named India, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, and Russia as potential invitees to the summit, according to a CNN report by Kevin Liptak, May 31, 2020, quoted Trump saying, "I don't feel that as a G7 it properly represents what's going on in the world. It's a very outdated group of countries." According to an article by Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India, May 31, 2020, “Trump revealed the idea of an expanded group wanting to expand G7 to G10 or G11 or GN and India was included.” Liptak further reported: “Later, aides indicated he was seeking a larger group that could act as a counterweight to China, whose relationship with the United States reached a nadir last week amid disputes over corona virus and Hong Kong.”...”Trump intended to use the summit to build an anti-China bloc.”
Trump made calls in early June 2020, extending invitations to guests to join the G7 summit; they were accepted by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, South Korea President, Moon Jae-in, and Indian Prime Minister, Narrendra Modi except the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. It is understandable the former four leaders would accept Trump’s invitation, Australia and South Korea being allies of the U.S., Brazil being a close neighbor in the continent of America, and India being always eager to seek opportunities to shine on the international stage. But Russia has very little to gain in joining G7 to face strong oppositions from European countries. Indeed, UK, Canada and EU have all expressed opposition to Russia’s reentry to G7.
in 2019, the G7 Summit reached a five-point communique: 1. WTO to resolve IP dispute more swiftly to eliminate unfair practices. 2. G7 commits to simplify regulatory barriers and modernize international taxation within the framework of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 3. G7 shares objectives to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons and to foster peace and stability in the region. 4. G7 supports a truce in Libya that will lead to a long-term ceasefire. And 5. G7 reaffirms the existence of the 1984 Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong in respond to Hong Kong riots and France and Germany will organize a Normandy format summit in the coming weeks to achieve tangible results regarding Russian intervention in Ukraine. These statements do appear a little feeble, don’t they?!
This year the COVID-19 Pandemic is making the planning of G7 very difficult wherever the location in the U.S. may be chosen. Thus, the meeting has to be delayed into the Fall. President Trump most likely would like to have the G7 before the U.S. Presidential election, November 3rd, to harvest some benefits for his election. But if Trump won his second term, he might have more credibility to suggest a more meaningful agenda for G7. If he wanted to build an anti-China bloc out of GN, his chance of doing so before his election appears nil. If the GN would be held after November 3rd, it might get eclipsed by the G20 Summit (November 20-21, Saudi Arabia), regardless whether Trump got re-elected or not. Since G20's establishment in 1999, it has gained more attention over the G7. G20 represents over 80% world trade and 90% of gross world product (GWP) (41.5% of world GDP in 2018 projected rising to 47.2% by 2024 vs G7 30% in 2018 projected to decline to 26.8%). The G7 had been regarded as the rich “country” club but its influence over world financial system and trade had been diminishing.
G7 or G8 had little impact on China’s growth in the past, neither would GN. China is now playing a very significant role in G20 and has a good trade relationship with Germany, Italy, UK, France and many other countries. In the U.S. strategy of building an anti-China bloc soliciting Australia, India and other Asian countries, there is little sign of sure success. Therefore, it is doubtful, a GN hastily collected under a Pandemic will succeed in targeting China. In fact, since G20 membership overlaps with GN members, most likely they would realize that more benefits and accomplishments could be achieved in G20 with China present.
Perhaps, this year would be the historical year to seal the fate of G7, either merging with G20 or convincing China to join.