G-7 agrees to fight forced labor, ransomware, corruption
Group of Seven (G-7) leaders on Sunday announced their commitments to cutting forced labor practices out of global supply chains in a shot at China, as well as efforts to stop ransomware attacks and root out corruption.
The three priorities will be outlined in a joint communique, to be released at the conclusion of the summit in the United Kingdom and signed by the heads of state of the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Italy, France, Japan and Germany.
“The United States and our G7 partners remain deeply concerned by the use of all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labor of vulnerable groups and minorities and supply chains of the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors—the main supply chains of concern in Xinjiang,” the White House said in a release ahead of the communique, referencing a Chinese territory.
“Leaders agreed on the importance of upholding human rights and of international labor standards, and committed to protect individuals from forced labor,” the White House statement added.
The specific mention of forced labor appeared to be calling out China, a point of contention among G-7 leaders. President Biden and some allies have pushed for a tougher approach to Beijing, but they have faced resistance from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and others who are reluctant to take an aggressive approach and prefer seeking out areas of economic cooperation with China.
The G-7 communique will also detail the leaders’ commitment to fighting ransomware as cyberattacks increase. U.S. businesses were targeted by major ransomware attacks in the weeks leading up to the G-7, affecting the domestic fuel industry and meat industry. Ransomware attacks are expected to be a point of discussion when Biden meets Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland.
“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,” the White House said.
The G-7’s communique will also raise the leaders’ commitments to addressing global corruption. The White House pointed to Biden’s classification earlier this month of corruption as a core national interest. The president at the time ordered a broad review of anti-corruption efforts across the federal government.