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The Group of Eight is a forum which brings together the eight major industrial democracies of the world. It was launched in 1975 originally as G6 and was composed of the representatives of 6 governments: France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. It came to be known as G7 with the addition of Canada in 1976. The G7 is composed of the 7 wealthiest countries on earth. With the addition of Russia in 1997, the group came to be known as G8. In 2011, the G8 nations collectively comprised 42.5% of the global GDP.
The G8 has remained relatively informal which enabled its members to develop good personal relationships and achieve policy coordination in a variety of issues. The presidency of the G8 Group rotates annually among its members and the country holding the presidency hosts a series of ministerial-level meetings to discuss issues of mutual or global concern like health, law enforcement, labor, economic and social development, energy, environment, foreign affairs, justice and interior, terrorism, and trade. The annual G8 leaders summit is attended by the heads of the Government.