President Biden and other leaders from G-7 decided to unify and resolve issues pertaining to free and fair trade. The global leaders agreed to collectively set up concrete actions to fight against the issues of forced labor, anti-corruption, and ransomware.
Eradicating Forced Labor
The G-7 countries took note that forced labor is prevalent in many sectors around the world. They specifically noted forced labor of vulnerable groups and minorities and supply chains of the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors. The supply chain concerns of Xinjiang were also highlighted.
The global leaders committed to protecting the rights of laborers and ensuring all global supply chains are free from forced labor. Areas with forced labor will be identified and efforts made to strengthen cooperation with those areas to eradicate all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, ensuring compliance with the international and national labor laws.
The United States has already acted to exclude goods suspected of utilizing forced labor in its supply chain. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang. On May 4, CBP seized nearly 4 million disposable gloves as it received information that led to a forced labor finding. On May 28, CBP also issued a WRO against Dalian Ocean Fishing Co., Ltd., based on information that reasonably indicated the use of forced labor in that entity’s fishing operations. CBP has also begun detaining other products received from the vessels owned or operated by the Dalian Ocean Fishing Co. Pvt. Ltd.
Committing to Fight Ransomware
The G-7 countries noted that Ransomware is a global challenge that disrupts significant infrastructure, manufacturing and electronic firms, and hospitals. Transnational criminal organizations leverage the infrastructure, virtual currency, and money laundering networks, targeting victims all over the world.
The White House Fact Sheet released on June 13 noted that “The international community—both governments and private sector actors—must work together to ensure that critical infrastructure is resilient against this threat, that malicious cyber activity is investigated and prosecuted, that we bolster our collective cyber defenses, and that States address the criminal activity taking place within their borders.”
President Biden pledged to fight corruption, treating it as a core U.S. national interest. Biden introduced a national security study Memorandum on the Fight Against Corruption. The White House noted that “Corruption corrodes public trust; makes government less effective; wastes public resources; and eats away at the foundations of democratic societies. Corruption exerts a massive cost on economies and is fundamentally unfair to citizens.”
Further, the countries decided that as leaders of the global economy, they held a responsibility to do more to ensure that the proceeds of corruption do not go to shell companies and untraceable accounts. Together with other G-7 leaders, the U.S. is committed to combating corruption by tackling the misuse of shell companies, limiting the ability of bad actors to launder dirty money in real estate purchases, improving corruption-related information sharing, and reforming foreign assistance to focus on anticorruption as a cross-cutting priority.
Other Initiatives to Strengthen Free and Fair Trade
Along with the three major issues highlighted by the G-7 conference, the following issues were also emphasized to be acted upon to strengthen free and fair trade.
- Reviewing trade policies to ensure economic empowerment of women
- Modernizing the WTO to promote fair competition and shared prosperity
- Transitioning to more sustainable supply chains
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