German president criticises protectionist measures by some nations

February 2nd, 2010 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Germany Tuesday decried the protectionist tendencies in some countries following the global economic crisis, even as it urged India to work together for a “genuine” global governance system which is just and fair.
This message was conveyed by the visiting German President Horst Koehler, while speaking at a business luncheon with apex chambers of commerce and industry.

“We saw how in many countries protectionist tendencies increased as a reaction to the crisis, even though this will ultimately be to the detriment of everyone. The world must continue to take decisive action to counter such tendencies,” Koehler, who arrived Monday on a week-long visit said.

Koehler, who headed the International Monetary Fund from 2000 to 2004, shared his vision of a better global governance system, noting that “throughout the world, we need a much better set of rules to ensure greater justice”.

He welcomed the emergence of G-20 group of nations following the economic crisis, but added that the United Nations continues to be the key forum for cooperative global governance.

The German head of state expressed disappointment at the Copenhagen conference’s outcome, which “shows that the international community still has far to go if it wants to effectively protect the one world we share”.

He said that climate protection can only work if “there are binding and verifiable rules for everyone which are accepted by all as fair and just”.

While noting that India has taken a number of steps for climate change mitigation despite having a very low per capita emission, Koehler said working towards a green economy will also make Indian enterprises more competitive.

He also spoke about the need together in counter-terrorism, reminding that three German nationals also died in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

During his last visit to India in 2000, Koehler had just taken over as IMF head and had predicted at that time that India will grow at a rate of 8-10 percent within three to four years.

“When I made that forecast, I was not really sure that it will materialise… But, I was struck by the potential of this great country. Then, (Prime Minister Manmohan) Singh as leader of opposition had told me that this growth rate was possible,” he reminisced.

Koehler, who was re-elected for a second term in May 2009, said that trade relations between India and Germany had developed rapidly.

The current bilateral trade volume stood at $15 billion, with a target to increase to $20 billion by 2012.

Indicating that high-technology was an important area for cooperation, the German president will be inaugurating the Indo Max Planck Institute for Computer Science Wednesday. He also announced that a German House of Science and Innovation will also be set up in Delhi soon.

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