What Is an Economic Summit?

M. McGee

An economic summit is a meeting of key economic leaders within a specific industry or region. These summits serve a variety of functions ranging from informing participants about key advancements or outlining the methods of trade for the next fiscal period. They range from very small to ones that garner worldwide attention. In addition to generic economic summits, there is also an annual meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) nations that is commonly called the G8 Economic Summit. This summit is a meeting of some of the largest developed nations in the world where they discuss plans and opportunities for the future.

The G8 was comprised of the United States, Canada, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan and Germany.
The G8 was comprised of the United States, Canada, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan and Germany.

In its generic usage, an economic summit can apply to any organized meeting of economic leaders. These meetings can have nearly any purpose or agenda and can be open to the public or held in secret. There are no actual defining characteristics beyond the economic aspect.

Meetings at economic summits typically discuss global issues.
Meetings at economic summits typically discuss global issues.

Generally, these meetings have a group of people that all work within the same geographic area or share a common business circle. For instance, there may be an economic summit that only invites prominent business people from upstate New York or one that is open to any company that works in mining, mineral processing or foundries. These summits are usually by application or invite.

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There are typically two main purposes behind an economic summit: spreading awareness or knowledge and determining directions of economies. By spreading information out to the participants, speakers can address a large number of interested individuals at once. This spreads the information faster, allows the participants to learn from each other and keeps the economic playing field level for everybody.

Determining economic direction is often more subtle. This aspect can range from simple business agreements all the way to price fixing and production quotas. While some of these practices are illegal in some countries, they are legal elsewhere. This type of economic summit is not uncommon, even in modern day, within some industries.

The G8 Economic Summit is an annual event held by the group of eight member countries that together hold more than half of the world’s production, as well as large militaries, scientific histories and stockpiled nuclear weapons. The membership of this group is very flexible; it started as the G6 and has since added two new permanent members, the European Union and a large number of invited guests.

This economic summit is attended by the leaders of the member countries, such as the current president of the United States. These leaders discuss the basic direction they want certain key industries, research developments and multinational projects to proceed in. After the conference, a series of smaller summits attended by specialists are held to work on the specifics of the plans.

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