Stephanie Kelly, Deputy Head of the Research Institute at Aberdeen Standard Investments, comments on the G7 summit.
“As expected, there was very little tangible action from the G7 aside from a commitment to provide 1 billion vaccines for developing countries, the bulk of which won’t come through until 2022 onwards. The communique didn’t make any major commitments on climate, economic cooperation, Covid or China.
“The relief that President Biden was at the talks, rather than President Trump, was visible. There were lots of photo opportunities around BBQs and bilateral meetings, but having a constructive partner in the US isn’t enough to change the divisions between the major powers on key issues.
“The differences in approach came through with regard to China. Biden signalled that the group agreed on the importance of uniting against autocratic regimes and defending human rights – and there was a group statement that named Xinjiang and human rights issues in Hong Kong. However, other leaders were much quieter on China. Chancellor Angela Merkel is still keen to work with China, particularly on climate, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t mention China in his closing comments.
“Meanwhile, one of the main stories of the weekend was the growing acrimony between the UK and the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol. As I’ve said before, the incentives are there to find a resolution, but this might not happen until there is a substantial crisis and even a legal challenge that risks escalating to tariff action. This month is a key month for progress, otherwise the situation could drag throughout the summer. Currently, it’s not looking promising – so, basically, so far, so Brexit.”