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The G7 Should Spearhead a “NATO for Trade,” ITIF Urges

May 16, 2023

WASHINGTON—With G7 leaders reportedly planning to formally address China’s coercive economic and trade practices in a joint statement during their May 19–21 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson:

It is time for democratic, rule-of-law nations to formally agree to come to each other’s aid when any one of them faces unfair economic aggression—like a NATO for trade.

China is the world’s leading practitioner of economic coercion, routinely bludgeoning other nations when it is displeased. Among many other examples, China cut off imports from Lithuania as punishment for having relations with Taiwan; it threatened sanctions against Australia for questioning its handling of the pandemic; and it has strongarmed foreign industries by threatening to cut off their access to China’s domestic market in retaliation for little more than a tweet it found politically offensive.

China’s pattern of economic coercion is more than just disruptive. It threatens to undermine the foundations of the global trading system—particularly in the strategically important advanced industries that China has explicitly planned to dominate. That is why the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has long advocated for establishing a defensive trade alliance, among other steps to push back.

It’s a welcome development that G7 ministers are enumerating their concerns with China’s behavior and identifying tools to counter it. China will only back down if democratic nations stand together.

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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

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