Governments of South Korea and Germany must join forces to fight against the wave of protectionism and defend free trade doctrine, said Stephan Auer, German ambassador to Seoul.
The envoy who begun his office in Seoul in November last year advocated that free trade “is one of the few remaining instruments for economic growth” in an interview with the Maeil Business Newspaper.
The British decision to leave the European Union and triumph of Donald Trump in U.S. presidential election with his campaign brimming with promises to place U.S. interests first, overthrow bilateral and multilateral free trade pacts, impose high tariffs, and build trade barriers against trade powerhouse has raised concerns about upset in the long-held global trade and economic order based on neo-liberalistic concept of free trade and globalization.
“Look at monetary policies, we have minus interests. When you look at fiscal policies, there is much constraint due to public debt. So trade remains (as the only solid pillar for growth.) This is why we have to fight for free trade.”
He maintained that it was important to keep up communication with the public to persuade the people on the importance of free trade so that they won’t be misled by the populist demagogue blaming economic troubles on imports and foreign workers.
Korea and Germany have an ample room to work together as the economies both are structured to depend on manufacturing and exports. The advent of fourth industrial revolution would bring about bigger opportunities for the two countries in areas like smart, or fully automated, factories, he said.
The two countries also could collaborate in the field of developing renewable energy.
“We (both) don’t have energy, so we have to import from other countries and regions, which is not stable. If we can produce energy through renewable energy, we can become more energy independent,” he said.
By Lim Young-sin and Kim Ha-kyung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]