G7 industry ministers agree to cooperate on AI, supply chains, presidency says

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows words "Artificial Intelligence AI

VERONA, Italy (Reuters) -Industry ministers from the Group of Seven major democracies agreed on Thursday to align rules on the development of artificial intelligence and to secure supply chains in key sectors such as semiconductors, the Italian presidency said.

Italy wants to use its presidency of the G7 this year to focus on the impact of AI on jobs and inequality, while also laying down safeguards for the development of the technology.

"There was full convergence of countries in aligning the rules between our countries to foster homogeneous development of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies," Industry Minister Adolfo Urso told reporters after the meeting in the northern Italian city of Verona.

He added that ministers would work to favour joint investment on AI, aiming in particular to ensure the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises.

The G7 industry ministers also decided to create a permanent working group to study ways to address policies aimed at increasing domestic production of semiconductors.

"Recent conflicts have shown us that, today more than ever, we must achieve strategic independence," Urso said.

"To this end in the G7 we will cooperate on semiconductors with the European Commission, in order to safeguard our economy and our industries."

Urso met with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on the sidelines of the meeting.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Gavin Jones and Susan Fenton)