Suzanne P. Clark Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


June 12, 2024


As the global economy roiled from an oil shock a half-century ago, the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies convened for the first meeting of what would become the annual summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Much of their joint statement—released in 1975—could’ve been written today.

“We came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities,” reads the communique after the original meeting held in France. The members agreed to pursue growth, trade, and democracy. These are principles they believed would help lead both the “industrial world and developing countries to prosperity.”

This week, the G7 convenes again—this time in Italy—marking the summit’s 50th anniversary. The group today faces geopolitical obstacles that differ markedly from the oil embargo and recession of the 1970s. But it is striking that year after year, the summit espouses the same "shared beliefs" in economic diplomacy and the power of free enterprise to lift the world’s fortunes.

The U.S. Chamber went to Rome last month to represent U.S. business interests and help craft the summit agenda to reflect the needs of commerce. We advocated for a series of new and innovative solutions, promoting trade, addressing environmental challenges, and strengthening labor markets.

This meeting of the B7 is an annual Chamber initiative to coordinate a shared vision with the business communities of each summit member. The values behind these proposals, however, are not new.

Rather, they mirror those in the original communique of a half-century ago and have stood the test of time: Freedom, the rule of law, democracy, and free enterprise.

Italy’s Take

Our host, Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, carved out extra time to engage with the delegates. In a stately room in Rome’s Palazzo Pamphilj, we delved into today’s challenges: Overcapacity in China, climate and energy concerns, the threats to trade on the world’s sea lanes, burdensome taxes and regulations.

The G7’s enduring principles were everywhere and were apparent in Meloni’s vision of how the allies should approach these problems. Her ‘Mattei Plan’ is named after the late Italian energy executive Enrico Mattei, who believed in sharing a greater portion of energy profits with supplying and developing nations.

Rather than exploit the African continent of resources, Meloni seeks to strengthen African partners to promote political stability and reduce the pressures driving migrants to Italy’s shores. And Italy’s plans for more energy imports from Africa would help further reduce reliance on Russian LNG.

Meloni also made clear her determination to fight against excessive regulation to Brussels. She is also a supporter of the "cotton road," an ambitious alternative trade route to China’s Belt and Road, from which Italy has distanced itself.

Known as the India-Middle-East-Europe Economic Corridor, or IMEC, the plan seeks to tie India to Europe through sea and overland trade routes that would link Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Value Proposition

The G7’s enduring principles underscore a broader truth about multilateral institutions' role in defining and defending the rules-based global order. The seven countries have less than 10% of the world’s population but together account for more than 40% of its gross domestic product.

That alone is a testament to the power of industry and enterprise under the rules-based order. It also underscores the importance of business having a seat at the table as our member nations deliberate the course forward in an increasingly turbulent world.

The G7 has endured as a club firmly centered around shared beliefs in democracy and free enterprise, values that the U.S. Chamber will continue to champion at home and abroad.

About the authors

Suzanne P. Clark

Suzanne P. Clark

As President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Suzanne Clark heads strategy, government relations and market innovation to support member companies and businesses.

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