What world leaders are expected to discuss at the G7 summit

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Published Aug. 23, 2019 11:24 a.m. ET
Updated Aug. 23, 2019 12:25 p.m. ET
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins six of his fellow world leaders on the international stage this weekend at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, where leaders are expected to discuss everything from climate change, to the global economy.

Hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s summit is expected to focus on fighting inequality and protecting biodiversity and climate.

But China’s relationship with the G7 is expected to take centre stage during the meeting, thanks to growing tension between Canada, the U.S. and China,and ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Relations with China

Experts expect Trudeau to seek the support of G7 leaders in relation to the escalating feud between Canada and China, particularly the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

CTV News’ Glen McGregor, who is covering the summit in France, noted that although Trudeau has already met with most of these leaders about the issue, he will likely use this weekend’s facetime to rally them to put pressure on China to release the Canadians.

On Thursday, after meeting with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. remains focused on helping secure the release of Kovrig and Spavor, noting American officials have engaged in "other diplomatic activity" to make the case for their release.

But leaders are also expected to touch on China’s response to escalating protests in Hong Kong.

Global economic concerns

The trade relationship between the U.S. and China is also expected be a main topic for discussion with President Donald Trump, amid mounting concerns about a global recession.

With U.S. and Chinese regulators set to meet in September, experts suggest that leaders will be pushing Trump to try to resolve the ongoing dispute that could turn into a real downturn in the world economic future.

This coupled with Britain’s exit from the European Union could cause much of the discussion to shift towards economic issues and trade.

Climate change and Amazon wildfires

Macron also seems keen on making the growing Amazon wildfire a main topic for discussion, tweeting Thursday that the “international crisis” should be the first order of business at the summit.

Tensions between France and Brazil, home of the rainforest, escalated Friday after Macron said he will block an E.U. trade deal with Brazil in light of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to the fires.

“The decisions and statements from Brazil these recent weeks show clearly that President Bolsonaro has decided to not respect his commitments on the climate, nor to involve himself on the issue of biodiversity,” read a statement from Macron’s office.

Trudeau echoed Macron’s call to action, tweeting, “I couldn’t agree more. We did lots of work to protect the environment at the G7 last year in Charlevoix, and we need to continue this weekend.”

Bolsonaro on Friday said he was leaning towards sending Brazil’s army to help fight the fires.

All eyes on newcomer Boris Johnson

Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make his debut on the international stage during the summit, where he will have his first chance to win over world leaders—or follow in the footsteps of Trump and cause a stir amongst leaders.

“The big disruptor, is Boris Johnson,” John Kirton, director of the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, told CTV’s Your Morning.

“Is he going to walk into his threat to undertake the most protectionist move we’ve seen since the 1930s, ripping Britain out of the European Union? Or is he going to show any signs of his so-called global Britain, above all a place where Britain can claim leadership on climate change control?”

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