G7: Here’s what to know about the meeting of world leaders

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The G7 is a shorthand for Group of Seven, an organization of leaders from some of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States.

Russia was indefinitely suspended from the group – which was then known as the G8 – in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against its annexation of Crimea. It was the first violation of the borders of a European country since World War II.

What is the G7 doing?

G7 members meet annually for a summit to discuss pressing issues on the world stage and coordinate policies.

International security and the global economy are often topics of discussion, although recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to dominate this year’s meeting.

In a statement ahead of the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would urge fellow G7 leaders at the summit to make concrete commitments to vaccinate the world, as well as support the “Global Pandemic Radar” – a new surveillance system to protect immunization programs.

What is the power of the G7?

G7 leaders and outreach guests including German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2-R) and United States President Barack Obama (2-L) attend working session with G7 summit at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

The G7 is above all a place of coordination and the group has produced decisions of global importance.

Ahead of this year’s summit, for example, G7 finance ministers agreed to support a global minimum tax of at least 15% on multinational corporations. The G7 group also agreed that larger companies should pay taxes where they generate sales, not just where they have a physical presence.
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US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Saturday the deal was a “significant and unprecedented commitment” by the world’s richest economies to prevent companies from avoiding taxes by shifting their profits to abroad.

What is the history of the G7?

Saburo Okita, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Helmut Schmidt, Valéry Giscard D'Estaing, Francesco Cossiga, Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher and Roy Jenkins attend the 1980 G7 summit on June 22, 1980, San Giorgio Island, Venice, Italy.

The meetings began as the Library Group, founded in the 1970s by then-US Treasury Secretary George Shultz.

Finance ministers from the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom met for informal “fireside conversations” in an attempt to stabilize the currency turmoil.

Japan joined soon after, and in 1975 – with two of the early participants then becoming French President and German President – the meetings were transformed into gatherings of heads of state and government.

Canada and Italy quickly joined together and they became known as the Group of Seven.

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