James Callaghan from United Kingdom, Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State, US President Gerald Ford, Takeo Miki from Japan (right) German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, French Foreign minister Jean Sauvagnargues, French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, French Economy minister Jean-Pierre Fourcade and Mario Rumor from Italy, attend 15 November 1975 at Rambouillet Castle the opening session of the first monetary policy G7 meeting, called than "the Summit of the Six".
CNN  — 

President Joe Biden’s first trip abroad since taking office includes a G7 summit where he’ll look to reestablish US leadership on the world stage.

But what is the G7, and what power does it hold? Here’s what you need to know:

What is the G7?

The G7 is shorthand for Group of Seven, an organization of leaders from some of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.

Russia was indefinitely suspended from the group – which was at the time known as the G8 – in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against its annexation of Crimea. It was the first violation of a European country’s borders since World War II.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, pose for a family photo at the ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina during the Heads of State and of Government G7 summit, on May 26, 2017 in Sicily.

What does the G7 do?

Members of the G7 meet each year for a summit to discuss pressing issues on the global stage and coordinate policy.

International security and the world economy are often topics of discussion, though recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to dominate this year’s meeting.

First formal session of the economic summit composed of the world's seven most industrialised nations at the House of Burgesses.

In a statement ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will urge his fellow G7 leaders at the summit to make concrete commitments to vaccinate the world, as well as give support to the “Global Pandemic Radar” – a new global surveillance system intended to protect immunization programs.

What power does the G7 have?

G7 leaders and outreach guests including Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (2-R) and United States President Barack Obama (2-L) attend a working session with at the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

The G7 is primarily a venue for coordination, and the group has produced decisions of global consequence.

Ahead of this year’s summit, for instance, G7 finance ministers agreed to back a global minimum tax of at least 15% on multinational companies. The G7 group also agreed that the biggest companies should pay tax where they generate sales, and not just where they have a physical presence.

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US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Saturday that the agreement was a “significant, unprecedented commitment,” from the world’s richest economies aimed at preventing companies from avoiding taxes by shifting profits overseas.

What is the history of the G7?

Saburo Okita, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Helmut Schmidt, Valéry Giscard D'Estaing, Francesco Cossiga, Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher and Roy Jenkins attend the 1980 G7 Summit on June 22, 1980, San Giorgio Island, Venice, Italy.

The meetings began as the “Library Group,” founded in the 1970s by then-US Treasury Secretary George Shultz.

Finance ministers of the US, France, Germany and the UK met for informal “fireside chats” to try to stabilize currency turbulence.

Japan joined soon after and, in 1975 – with two of the original participants having by then become French president and German president – the meetings were turned into gatherings of heads of state and government.

Canada and Italy soon joined and they became known as the Group of Seven.