The G7 summit has begun in the shadow of a US-China trade war, with protests planned around the Biarritz event throughout the weekend.
On Friday, Beijing announced it would raise tariffs on US goods worth around €68 billion.
A retaliatory measure taken in response to Washington imposing additional €270 billion tariffs on Chinese goods, set to come into effect from September and mid-December.
US President Donald Trump responded to China on Twitter saying that the vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must stop.
Trump also ordered American companies to immediately begin the search for alternative trading options to China; be it relocating companies or relocating production to the US.
This is the latest episode in the long-running trade war between the two richest countries with repercussions being felt worldwide. Both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have lowered their economic growth forecast for this year. They now predict it will between 2.6 and 3.2%.
But these aren’t just numbers. As the World Bank highlighted in its last report; stronger economic growth is essential to reducing poverty and improving living standards.
Also on the agenda, if French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister have their way, are the wildfires sweeping the Amazon rainforest.
Macron called on members of the G7 to discuss the raging wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days! #ActForTheAmazon,” the president tweeted on Thursday, a few days before the start of the G7 summit in Biarritz.
His sentiment was backed up by Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson, who said he would use the G7 summit to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature, his office said on Friday.
“The prime minister is deeply concerned by the increase in fires in the Amazon rainforest and the impact of the tragic loss of these precious habitats,” said a spokeswoman.
Macron also held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Paris on Friday, ahead of the G7.
Euronews’ Anelise Borges spoke to Zarif about his discussion with the French leader: “We discussed with Macron how the US could come back, and how Europe and the international community can live up to their commitments, independent of the US,” he said.
World economic inequality
The gap between rich and poor in the majority of the G7 countries isn’t reducing. Combined, US, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Italy and Japan’s populations, own more than half of total global wealth.
Of these countries, the richest 10% own approximately half or more of the country’s wealth, whilst the poorest 50% own 10% or less.
And with the world’s economy slowing down, this inequality gap won’t be diminished any time soon.