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Press Releases

09.04.2006

Grasser: All must benefit from globalisation

The ASEM Finance Ministers’ meeting in Vienna ended on Sunday

 

"This 7th ASEM meeting has sent a clear message: together Europe and Asia are stronger. It is therefore important to have this forum for regular dialogue. This meeting has brought the two biggest world economies closer together", Federal Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser, the current President of the Ecofin Council, said at the press conference at the close of the ASEM Finance Ministers’ meeting in Vienna, which ended on Sunday. A total of 38 countries were represented at the meeting, 13 of them from Asia. The meeting served as preparation for the 6th ASEM Summit of Heads of State and Government, which will take place in Finland in autumn 2006. The discussions centred on the economic situation, globalisation, specific cooperation projects in the context of the ASEM forum, Bretton Woods governance issues, and combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

"The economic prognoses are very positive and the Finance Ministers are highly optimistic. The world economy is in robust shape", Minister Grasser declared. He said the world economy was growing by 4.5% and the economies of the Asian countries by 6.5%. The forecast growth for the European Union is 2.5%.

On the subject of globalisation Grasser said: "I am very glad that both the Ecofin Informal and the meeting of ASEM Finance Ministers have sent a clear message. All the participants stressed that protectionism is harmful. Liberalisation, the opening up of markets, must continue. That will create additional jobs and it is a crucial instrument in reducing unemployment", Grasser said. This is also the reason why the Finance Ministers had come out in favour of bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion. In addition, Europe and Asia’s Finance Ministers declared that globalisation must bring benefits to all market participants. "Not only companies, but workers too must profit. This means the social dimension of globalisation and liberalisation must be strengthened and communicated better. We must work towards a win-win situation. All must benefit from globalisation", Grasser stressed. "People must be prepared to follow us on our mission to open up the markets. We must therefore provide social guarantees and build bridges", he continued. The development of oil prices was another topic of discussion according to the minister. "We are monitoring the oil markets closely. We want the markets to stabilise. Security of supply is particularly crucial in this respect." Investment in energy markets is also to be supported and given priority. Grasser said the development of the oil price would not have an adverse impact on economic growth. Finally, he announced that Korea will host the 8th ASEM Finance Ministers’ meeting, which will be held in 2008.

 

Date: 09.04.2006