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SHARING THE RESPONSABILITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

DECEMBER 3-8, 2008

by Michael Levitin

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ – Print Edition – (USA)

He was Chief of Staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the leading voice behind 'A BIGGER BREAK' - Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the crisis forced the U.S. to leave behind its traditions - Photo by Hans-Christian Plambeck (Laif-Redux)Germany’s refusal to fight in Iraq. Now German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor in next year’s elections, running against the popular Christian Democrat incumbent, Angela Merkel. In his first major interview with the U.S. press, Steinmeier sat down with NEWSWEEK’s Michael Levitin to discuss German troop engagements in Afghanistan, Russia’s recent aggression, the global financial crisis and how Germany might work alongside the United States. Excerpts:

LEVITIN: The day after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to install missiles in Kaliningrad if Washington did not “rethink” its deployment of a NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe. Did Moscow’s latest show of aggression shift the dynamic between Russia and Europe? How should you respond- and what should Europe’s response be?

STEINMEIER: Medvedevs announcement the day after the elections was clearly the wrong signal at the wrong time. We have no illusions about Russia. In the last few years it has often proved itself a difficult partner. The question remains how to deal with this huge country in Europe’s immediate neighborhood; having to choose between containment versus engagement, I advocate the latter. We must try to develop relations with Russia that go beyond economic interests and contribute to increased stability and security. After all, it is in our own interest to make sure that a Russia that is looking for its own identity is politically and culturally anchored in die West.

LEVITIN: Do you see Germany as a middleman, acting as a buffer between Russia and the rest of Europe-perhaps at the moment even Russia’s closest EU ally?

STEINMEIER: Russia is aware of our uniquely close relationship with the United States. We are firmly embedded in NATO and the EU and thus we don’t aspire to play the role of a middleman. Together with our European partners we showed a strong and outspoken response to Russia’s role in the conflict in Georgia. I think Europe’s united voice no doubt contributed to the military conflict ending. Now the stabilization of the region as a whole has to continue, and for genuine stability we need Russian cooperation. As for energy links between the EU and Russia, the answer depends on which European country you talk to. But in general, Russia depends as much on Europe and America buying its goods as we rely on Russia supplying us with natural gas and oil. As far as Germany is concerned, it is little known in the United States that we have worked successfully for decades to diversify our suppliers of various forms of energy and fuels, with Russia but also Norway and Africa being important suppliers.

LEVITIN: You mentioned the conflict In Georgia. Should that country and Ukraine be Invited to Join NATO?

STEINMEIER: This is not a simple yes-or-no decision. With national elections looming, the domestic situation in Ukraine has changed, as has the situation in the Caucasus since the conflict broke out this summer. Yes, we remain committed to supporting and assisting these countries on the road ahead. But concerning the Membership Action Plan, Germany and other European governments continue to stand by their position.

LEVITIN: The most urgent U.S. foreign-policy question involving Germany, which Obama raised many times during his campaign, is Afghanistan and whether Germany will contribute more troops there to stabilize the south. How much is your country willing to sacrifice for this partnership, putting its soldiers into harm’s way?

STEINMEIER: I have spoken to Barack Obama twice, and from these exchanges I know that he sees Afghanistan in a very nuanced way. I feel we see eye to eye in our assessment that we’re facing a very difficult security situation, but that military means alone cannot bring about the necessary changes. Our approach has to be a comprehensive one, and contrary to what some people may say, Germany has played its part.

LEVITIN: In the north, certainly. But It’s in the south where the greatest violence has taken place, and where Obama’s asking for greater German participation.

STEINMEIER: We have shouldered our share of the military responsibility and we have also enlarged our engagement. We are about to increase our troops by 30 percent, to 4,500. We are participating in aerial surveillance across the whole of Afghanistan, including the south, and German radio engineers are also stationed in Kandahar. The German Air Force runs flights for all NATO countries throughout Afghanistan, again including the south. We took over the lead of the Quick Reaction Force in the north. And let us not forget that circumstances there have also changed; the north, too, has seen its share of armed opposition activities increasing in the last month. But our engagement in Afghanistan is about much more than military action. We have always said that we will only be successful if we succeed in helping rebuild the country and its economy. Civil reconstruction is the second important pillar of our engagement on the ground, and we’ll continue to increase our contribution in this area next year.

LEVITIN: Given the turmoil in Pakistan, what do you think the next steps forward ought to be?

STEINMEIER: The security of the whole region strongly depends on Pakistan. If we want to combat terrorism in Afghanistan, we have to succeed in stabilizing Pakistan politically and economically. This calls for a strengthened Pakistani commitment to combat terrorism, but it also calls for international assistance for this country. It needs a substantial loan from the IMF. We also need to be ready to help stabilize the country in a lasting way.

LEVITIN: On Iran, what realistic hopes do you see of bringing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the table and persuading him to give up Tehran’s nuclear ambitions? And how far will you be willing to push?

STEINMEIER: No doubt there is hope in the international community that after 29 years of standstill, a new approach may be possible. We all remember the reasons for the break-off of relations between the U.S. and Iran. Since then, U.S.-Iranian relations have also been a story of missed opportunities: when Washington signaled openness, Tehran wasn’t willing or able to respond in kind, and vice versa. I think it would be worthwhile trying to have direct talks, but the Iranians have to know it is up to them to prove they do not aspire to nuclear weapons-and that they’re willing to play a constructive role in the region. I have to admit I am skeptical, and can only express my hope that the leaders in Iran seize this opportunity.

LEVITIN: Turning to the financial crisis, the banks got a bailout. Now the automobile manufacturers are seeking the same thing. How do you see EU countries regaining their competition policy-and their legitimacy-after this?

STEINMEIER: I believe the politicians would have lost their legitimacy if they hadn’t acted. What we’re facing here is the very visible failure of the market. We had to make sure that the crisis in the financial markets does not lead to a total breakdown of the financial system as a whole. On both sides of the Atlantic, unconventional means were applied to manage the crisis. Honestly speaking, many of the measures taken in the U.S. seemed a bigger break with American tradition than can be said about European measures.

LEVITIN: How important is it that developing countries play a greater decision-making role In the future? For example, we saw hints of the G8 expanding into a G20 several weeks ago in Washington.

STEINMEIER: What is the most fundamental challenge the world is facing today? To my mind, it consists of integrating the emerging powers of the 21st century into a system of shared global responsibility. I am talk ing about countries like China and India, but also Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia. Can any of the global challenges we face be tackled without them? I don’t think so. That is why we have to make them stakeholders, and in that respect the recent financial summit in Washington was historic. To me it is obvious we cannot stop there.

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ (USA)

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Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AFGHANISTAN, AFRICA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, G20, G8, GEORGIA, GERMANY, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, ISLAM, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATO, NATURAL GAS, NORWAY, PAKISTAN, PETROL, RECESSION, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | 1 Comment »

PROTECTIONISM REARS ITS HEAD AS WTO TRIES TO WRAP UP DOHA – CONGRESSMEN TELL BUSH TO REJECT TABLED TRADE DEAL – SUMMIT TO END SEVEN YEARS OF TALKS PUT IN DOUBT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Thursday December 4 2008

by Larry Elliott, Economics Editor – The Guardian

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

A sign that the current crisis is fanning a desire for protectionism emerged yesterday when members of Congress warned George Bush against trying to fast-track a trade deal for the end of the year.

Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation, is considering calling trade ministers to Geneva to conclude the Doha liberalisation talks.

“Unfortunately, the negotiating texts currently on the table would provide little if any new market access for US goods, and important advanced developing countries are demanding even further concessions from the US,” said a bipartisan letter from Charles Rangel, Max Baucus, Jim McCrery and Charles Grassley. Democrats Rangel and Baucus chair the Ways and Means and the Finance committees respectively, while McCrery and Grassley are the ranking Republican members.

“We see no tangible progress, and in fact believe that some of our trading partners have become even further entrenched in their unacceptable positions.”

Lamy wants to bring more than seven years of acrimonious talks to an end with a meeting next weekend, after last month’s summit of G20 leaders in Washington instructed trade ministers to settle differences over agriculture and manufactured goods. Some officials believe it would become more difficult to conclude any deal once Barack Obama is sworn in next month.

WTO sources last night talked of a meeting on December 13, although Lamy was more cautious. In a fax to the WTO’s 153 members, he said he had yet to decide whether there had been enough progress since talks broke down in July: “As we all know, we still have a number of outstanding issues. But the reality is the relevance of what we are doing to the financial crisis,” he said. “If we fail we have a problem; but although there remains the risk of failure, the risks involved in not trying are higher.”

He is concerned that economic distress in the US, Europe and Asia is already prompting countries to use protectionist weapons yet to be outlawed by the WTO – raising tariffs to the maximum permitted, and introducing anti-dumping regulations.

US agriculture secretary Ed Schafer said he was confident a deal could be done, and confirmed that Washington was ready to make a big cut in its agreed ceiling for agriculture subsidies if other countries opened their markets further to US farm produce. “We in the US remain confident we can see a successful completion to the Doha round this year,” he told reporters in Beijing.

However, the Congressmen warned Bush against being rushed into a deal that would be rejected on Capitol Hill. “We strongly urge you not to allow the calendar to drive the negotiations through efforts to hastily schedule a ministerial meeting, without adequate groundwork having been laid.

“Developed and advanced developing countries must commit to provide meaningful new market access opportunities if Congress is to support a deal.’

“Achieving the necessary flexibility from our trading partners could require new thinking … and our negotiators should be given time to explore such options. Otherwise, the likely result will be a deal that Congress cannot support – an outcome that would be detrimental to US farmers, workers and firms, the global economy, and the WTO itself.”

Amy Barry, trade spokeswoman for Oxfam, said: “This round of talks was meant to be primarily about development, not about market access for US farmers and companies. Yet Oxfam is hearing that the US, with tacit support from the European Union, Australia and others, has now put extra demands on the table, mostly about further prising open the markets of major emerging economies.

“These come as China has seen a major fall in its exports, leading to many enterprises closing and huge numbers laid off to go back onto the land … India has lost 20% of its exports in a year, with 1.2m job losses in textiles and clothing alone … It is difficult to understand why anyone would seriously expect China and India to agree to yet more trade concessions.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, G20, G8, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | 1 Comment »

BRASIL É UM DOS PAÍSES QUE TERÁ VOZ ATIVA NA ECONOMIA MUNDIAL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 19, 2008

17 de Novembro de 2008

As soluções para a crise financeira internacional devem ser encontradas com a ajuda dos países em ANDREW JACKSON AND MAO ZEDONGdesenvolvimento e não mais apenas pelas sete nações mais ricas do mundo – como era antes da reunião do último final de semana em Washington, na qual participaram 20 lideranças de países que somam mais de 85% do PIB mundial. Segundo o presidente da República, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, uma das decisões consensuais tomadas pelos líderes é a necessidade da participação não apenas dos países mais ricos do mundo, mas dos emergentes, dos países em vias de desenvolvimento, que têm uma grande população. “Já não é mais o G-8. Agora é o G-20”, afirmou Lula no programa de rádio Café com o Presidente, realizado nesta segunda-feira (17).

Segundo o presidente da República, há uma grande afinidade de posições e compromisso de todos os governantes do G-20, em torno das medidas para resolver a crise financeira internacional. A primeira delas é restabelecer a liquidez e restaurar a confiança no mercado financeiro, pois fica muito difícil a economia funcionar sem crédito. “No Brasil, já adotamos medidas nesse sentido. Faz 30 dias que estamos adotando medidas para permitir a irrigação do sistema financeiro e garantir que se tenha crédito para que o consumo continue acontecendo, para que as empresas continuem produzindo, o comércio vendendo e o povo comprando. É isso que vai ativar a economia”, avalia o presidente.

Anti-recessão – A segunda medida aprovada pelos líderes foi a adoção de políticas anti-recessivas para evitar uma grande desaceleração do crescimento econômico mundial, especialmente uma queda abrupta e significativa do crescimento, que já está acontecendo em alguns países europeus. O terceiro ponto importante, segundo o presidente, é a regulação do sistema financeiro de modo a conter a especulação descolada da economia real e do mundo do trabalho. “O sistema financeiro tem que ajudar o setor produtivo para que ele gere os empregos necessários, para que o comércio cresça, para que o consumo cresça e para que a sociedade viva uma vida digna e decente”, explicou o presidente. Para ele, a falta de controle de alguns países foi a causa da crise financeira. “As medidas que tomamos, por unanimidade, são extremamente importantes para que a gente possa controlar o sistema financeiro e evitar que eles continuem a prática do cassino”, disse Lula.

Um dos resultados mais importantes da reunião, segundo o presidente, foi o clima de cooperação internacional. “Finalmente, todos os países se colocaram de acordo que nós precisamos tomar decisões coletivas para evitar que uma tomada de posição em um país possa prejudicar outro”. Como parte desta política de cooperação, está a retomada da Rodada de Doha, para desenvolver o comércio mundial.

Na opinião do presidente da República, a reunião de Washington foi um marco na história do século XXI. “Participei da reunião mais importante entre líderes de países, de tantas que eu já fiz”, contou o presidente. Segundo ele, o encontro foi marcado pelo consenso de que o grupo de 20 países deve trabalhar junto. “Na hora de tomar as grandes decisões, o G-20 se transformou num fórum importante. Daí a minha crença de que estamos no caminho certo para debelar essa crise e para evitar outras crises”, afirmou.

FMI – O ministro Guido Mantega disse durante a reunião de ministros da Fazenda, que essa crise é o momento de aperfeiçoar e democratizar as instituições financeiras internacionais, como o Banco Mundial e o Fundo Monetário Internacional. Para o ministro, as Metas do Milênio, que têm por objetivo a redução da desigualdade, devem ser o centro das políticas econômicas. “Não podemos nos esquecer dos enormes desafios da humanidade, como a pobreza, a fome e as mudanças climáticas”, disse o ministro.

Editado pela Secretaria de Comunicação Social da Presidência da República
Nº 728 – Brasília

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘EM QUESTÃO’ (Brasil)

Posted in A PRESIDÊNCIA, BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, G20, G8, IMF, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LUIS INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA, MINISTÉRIO DA FAZENDA, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »