Protectionism would be the wrong answer to Asia's growing economic power, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a gathering of German diplomats and business people in Berlin Tuesday.
Germany remained an exporting nation and lived from "open markets and exchange," Steinmeier said, adding that the world's number one exporter would be the first to suffer the negative effects of protectionism.
The conference of German ambassadors has Asia as its focus. The opening Monday was attended by ASEAN General Secretary Ong Keng Yong.
In his opening address, Steinmeier noted phenomenal growth rates in Asia, and said: "Globalization almost has an Asian face." Three of five world economic powers would emerge in Asia, he said.
But he warned that free trade had two directions. "Artificial fixing of exchange rates, restriction on the flow of capital and accumulating currency reserves carry the danger of global imbalances," Steinmeier said.
Europe and Asia had to be partners in using global resources and maintaining sustainability.
He noted that in the light of fears on climate change, China was now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Europe had technologies that could help resolve the problems of growth without environmental damage.
Steinmeier added that Europe had "soft power" abilities that it could offer Asia.
An Asian statesman had told him recently: "Europeans have what many Asian societies are aiming at: democratic governments, infrastructure, civil rights, top companies, high levels of education, a rich culture."
Turning to China, India and Japan in particular, Steinmeier said their economic strength meant responsibility.
India and China needed to be integrated regionally and internationally, flanked by the established and close cooperation with Japan as a member of the Group of Eight (G8).
There was a need to develop an architecture for tackling global tasks with Japan, China and India, Steinmeier said.
Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2007, 16:17