Trans-Atlantic Free Trade? Merkel Calls for Closer EU-US Cooperation
In her keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for closer trans-Atlantic cooperation, saying it would benefit both American and European economies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the opening address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She called for closer trans-Atlantic relations.
In a further sign of blossoming relations, Merkel took the opportunity of her keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos -- an annual meeting of top political and business leaders, intellectuals and non-governmental organizations -- to call for closer trans-Atlantic cooperation. In addition to holding the EU presidency for the first six months of the year, Merkel's Germany also heads up the G8 until the end of 2007.
"I feel it is very important that trans-Atlantic economic relations are intensified," she said in her speech. "History shows that close trans-Atlantic economic integration is always the impetus for boosting economic growth."
She cited European investment in the American rail network in the 19th century and the post-World War II Marshall Plan as examples of successful trans-Atlantic integration. "The US is still the European Union's most important trade partner, as it was in the past," she said. "We are also the most important investment partners for each other."
She went on to say that the potential for cooperation is far from being exhausted. "I see the need and possibilities for negotiations about non-tariff barriers, like for example technical standards, rules for financial markets, energy, environmental questions and intellectual property," she said. "The different approaches to regulation on the two sides of the Atlantic create unnecessary transaction costs. We can reduce these costs. Our goal should be the creation of structures similar to those of an internal market." She added that she wanted to address these questions at the EU-US summit in Washington on April 30.
She emphasized that closer trans-Atlantic cooperation would not come at the expense of relations with other countries. "This approach would be fatal if it were directed against other (countries)," she said. "Other countries which have a close trade relation with Europe and the US would also profit from a deeper (trans-Atlantic) economic integration."
In the speech, she also said that globalization offers the world more opportunities than risks, while warning that "tomorrow's winners" from globalization could be the losers "the day after tomorrow," giving the example of a Chinese company which is switching production to Botswana to cut costs. She also called for joint action on global warming, as well as saying that Germany, as current president of the EU, would try to push forward attempts to create a common EU constitution.