Germany to support India’s stand against US protectionism

New Delhi, Oct 4, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) Germany will support India’s stand against protectionist policies, adopted by the United States in the last few months, at the major international forums, including the upcoming G20 Seoul Summit, its envoy has said.

The Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was established in 1999 to bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy. The inaugural meeting of the G-20 took place in Berlin, on December 15-16, 1999, hosted by German and Canadian finance ministers.

‘Protectionism is a poison. It is not good for any country. We share India’s concern and will fully support its stand at G20 and any other forum,’ German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek told IANS.

He said Germany was ‘very skeptical‘ about the recent developments in the US, which was aimed at creating trade barriers.

‘In the medium or long term it is not in the interest of the United States. It is an absolute poison and will harm the US economy. We are against any such move,’ said Matussek adding that the recent developments in the US were populist policies aimed at appeasing a section of voters.

In the last few months, the US has adopted a number of policies to discourage outsourcing of works by American companies. It includes hike in visa fee, that is estimated to put an additional burden of $250 million annually on Indian IT firms. The US increased the visa fee by $2,000 for certain H-1B and $2,250 for L-1A and L-1B.

Another protectionist approach was by the US state of Ohio, which recently banned offshore outsourcing by government departments.

India has termed such moves as ‘restrictive and protectionist’, saying they would negatively affect the business of Indian outsourcing firms and might derail the global economic recovery.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said recently India would raise the issue at the upcoming G20 summit, scheduled to be held on Nov 11 and 12 in the South Korean capital.

Matussek, who earlier headed Germany’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York, said India and Germany would work together to bring structural reforms in the international economic and political system.

‘Emerging economies like India have to be given greater say in world economic and political affairs. How can you talk about South Asia without India? It is ridiculous. This is why, I believe, India should be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council,‘ Matussek said.

He said a major reform in global financial system was likely at the G20 Seoul Summit.

Restructuring the 66-year-old International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a greater say for countries like India and a greater fiscal coordination to ensure sustainable economic recovery, will be top agenda of the fifth meeting of the group of 20 developed and emerging economies in Seoul, Changyong Rhee, secretary general of the Presidential Committee for the G20 summit told IANS recently.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at gyanendra.k@ians.in and biz@ians.in)

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