Leaders from the G7, an intergovernmental organisation comprising; Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed to replace outdated paper-based systems with digital tools to bolster and fast-track exports and international trade in the global market.
The agreement was reached during a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, hosted by Oliver Dowden, Britain’s Culture Secretary which was attended by counterparts from member G7 countries.
The leaders indicated the need to enhance exports by digitising the cumbersome and centuries-old paper-based system for better facilitation of key international trade transactions, while also improving the free flow of data.
The G7 also agreed to a series of principles to tackle online safety by ensuring major tech companies have systems and processes in place that effectively tackle illegal and harmful trade activities and also, prioritise child protection.
Commenting on the agreement, Dowden said the coalition of the world’s leading democracies and technological powers is expected to forge a compelling vision of how tech should support and enhance open and democratic societies in the digital age.
“Together we have agreed on a number of priorities in areas ranging from internet safety to digital competition to make sure the digital revolution is a democratic one that enhances global prosperity for all,” he added.
The leaders also agreed to tackle concerns over the market power of big tech platforms, with international regulators and policymakers set to meet the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority in autumn to discuss long-term coordination and enforcement.
On his part, Felicity Burch, director of digital for the Confederation of British Industry, said the latest moves from the G7 marks a major milestone in the international digital agenda, stressing that digital technologies have acted as a bedrock of resilience for economies over the last year.
The agreement, according to Burch, can be a springboard for an inclusive, sustainable recovery and industry is ready to play its part to deliver the shared vision.
The joint ministerial declaration, signed ahead of June’s G7 summit, is part of the first of seven ministerial declarations due to be signed this year.