The Group of Seven economies agreed Saturday to create resilient supply chains of crucial minerals such as rare earth elements used in electric vehicles with trusted partners, Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

Nishimura, co-chair of the two-day G7 meeting among trade ministers in Osaka Prefecture, disclosed the agreement after an opening day outreach session, in which emerging and developing countries were invited for discussions for the first time within the ministerial framework.

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura (front, C) and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (front, L) attend an expanded meeting of trade ministers of the Group of Seven countries in Osaka on Oct. 28, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The G7 ministers aim to boost cooperation with resource-rich nations, including those within the so-called Global South, as the role they play in building stable supply chains is seen as increasingly crucial in the recent geopolitical environment.

Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine and U.S.-China tensions over advanced semiconductors and technology, among other issues, underscore the importance of economic security and supply chains for materials essential in making computer chips and batteries.

The participants are also discussing their response to "economic coercion," as Communist-led China has been lambasted by some democratic countries for employing tactics like trade dominance to exert pressure on other nations in pursuit of its political goals.

Earlier this month, China, which holds a high market share in minerals crucial for decarbonization, announced new export controls on graphite, a material that is used in batteries, fuel cells and nuclear reactors, effective Dec. 1.

Nishimura said in the G7 outreach session, "We are going to deal with the issue" of economic coercion "while avoiding being trapped in excessive protectionism at the same time."

India, the chair of the Group of 20 gatherings this year, and Australia, Chile, Indonesia and Kenya, as well as international bodies such as the World Trade Organization, took part in the session with the G7 members -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union.

Nishimura and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, a co-chair of the latest G7 ministerial talks, are expected to release a joint statement on the outcome of the meeting on Sunday.

The agenda for sessions on the final day includes reform of the WTO's dispute settlement system, which has come under criticism for being at risk of collapsing due to vacancies in the Appellate Body.

In late August, China imposed a blanket import ban on marine products from Japan following the discharge of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, crippled by the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami in 2011, into the sea.

The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is exploring the possibility of taking the matter to the WTO, while the G7 ministers are considering bringing up the issue at their gathering, according to government sources.

Events and sessions are held at venues in the neighboring cities of Osaka and Sakai for the year's second conference of G7 trade ministers after online talks in April.

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