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Nicholas Bayne[1] and Robert D. Putnam

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Traditional Summit Themes

Economic Policy Coordination

The early G-7 leaders, especially Giscard and Schmidt but also Carter, saw the summits mainly as an instrument for economic policy coordination, supported by suitable monetary, trade and energy policies. The early summits, from 1975 to 1980, gave mu at the first Bonn Summit in 1978, which put together an ambitious, cross-issue deal to promote growth by fiscal stimulus and to restrain energy use. But after the second oil shock, a more austere strategy prevailed. The new strategy of bringing inflatio active coordination.

The summits were launched by two ex-Finance Ministers, who wanted heads of government to play a role in economic policy coordination. Since their departure, the actual Finance Ministers have gradually regained their authority. The turning point was when the Group of Five Finance Ministers (successors to the Library Group) appeared in public for the first time to announce measures to curb the over-valued US dollar. The 1986 Tokyo summit reinforced this role for the Finance Ministers, while Italy and expanded to include them as well. Since then, the G-7 Finance Ministers and their senior officials, the G-7 Deputies, have developed their own intensive rhythm of consultation. They meet at the summit and report to the heads of government, but they als

Political Issues

The replacement of Carter, Giscard and Schmidt by Ronald Reagan, Fran‡ois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl early in the second summit cycle stimulated the inclusion of political issues alongside economic ones. Despite some French resistance, the leaders m foreign policy issues on the margins to having a formal political agenda and setting aside one of the two available days for this discussion. Preparations were less structured, as foreign policy issues followed less of a pattern and the leaders were ofte controversies at times dominated the summit.

President Reagan's own priorities at the summits were political, especially checking and confronting the Soviet Union. For example, at the summits of 1981 and 1982, he tried to stop the Europeans from helping to build pipelines to receive gas suppli gave comfort to the Soviets. The Europeans disagreed, arguing that these economic links made the Soviets more open to Western influence, and eventually the United States backed off. The G-7 leaders achieved more effective agreement at Williamsburg in 19 US cruise missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet SS20s. The declaration restored the unity of the key NATO allies and explicitly incorporated Japan by referring to the "indivisibility" of the security of the participants. The Tokyo Summit of 1986 also the US bombing raid on Libya. This firm common position served to discourage terrorist organizations and isolate those countries which sheltered them.

International Trade

Through all the early years, international trade was seldom off the summit agenda. A prime task of the summits, in exposing the heads of government to international pressures, has been to restrain protectionist trends among the G-7 countries, by exa thought the summits' role in fighting protectionism was the main rationale for the G-7 process. On occasion, other structural economic issues, such as agriculture and employment, have been discussed at the summits, showing how these domestic policies are

In addition, the G-7 summits have always sought to encourage international trade negotiations and promote their successful conclusion. When the summits began, the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the GATT was already underway. The Round, but these targets did not make a visible impact before the Bonn Summit of 1978. There the main trade negotiators were summoned from Geneva by their leaders, who gave sufficient impetus to the process to get the negotiations completed by the end of

Trade negotiations have since become more contentious at the summits, as their scope has extended into new subjects, notably agriculture. the GATT Uruguay Round was not helped by open dispute over the launching date at the second Bonn Summit of 1985 summit talks to give effective impetus to the negotiations, which were wider in scope than the Tokyo Round and involved a greater number of active participants. By the time the critical years of the Uruguay round arrived, the summits had been deeply mar

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