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2009年2月16日 (月)

G7声明 反保護主義で協調行動を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 16, 2009)

G-7 must work together to avoid protectionism

G7声明 反保護主義で協調行動を(216日付・読売社説)

The Group of Seven nations were unanimous on the need to cooperate with further economic stimulus measures against the global recession, which seems to show no sign of hitting rock bottom.


The joint statement by the G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors who met in Rome on Friday and Saturday made clear their resolve to act together using the full range of policy tools at their disposal to support growth and employment, as well as strengthen financial markets.


One of the most eye-catching aspects of the statement was the consensus on frontloading and quickly carrying out fiscal policy measures.


Tentacles of the global financial crisis have quickly spread into the real economy. The Japanese, eurozone and U.S. economies are all expected to post negative growth in 2009 for the first time since the end of World War II. Unemployment rates have sharply risen in many countries as the global recession bites.


In an indication of the severity of the situation, the joint statement acknowledged that the downturn is expected to persist through most of 2009.



Fiscal policies seen important

Central banks of Japan, Europe and the United States have already come up with ultralow interest rates and quantitative easing policies, but they likely will have only a limited effect. As things stand, the prospect that the economic downturn will continue for some time is becoming a reality.


With only limited scope for further rate cuts, the G-7 ministers spelled out their recognition of the importance of sound fiscal policies.


In the United States, where the current crisis started, Congress last week passed an about 800 billion dollars stimulus package, the pillars of which are increased public spending and tax cuts.


The package, designed to create or save more than 3.5 million jobs, marks the first step in President Barack Obama's plan for getting the United States' economy back on its feet. We hope the stimulus measures will be implemented swiftly.


Japan and Europe should work with the United States to coordinate their policies and use every tool at their disposal in the all-out battle to defeat the global recession.


Meanwhile, in Japan, a plan for compiling a supplementary budget for fiscal 2009 has surfaced. The nation is crying out for measures that will quickly stimulate the economy. Although such measures could exacerbate the fiscal deficit, we believe they should be positively considered.


Another side effect of the global recession has been a rise in protectionism--giving preferential treatment to domestically made products--due to governments' excessive emphasis on their domestic economies. To keep this trend in check, the G-7 statement says it "remains committed to avoiding protectionist measures."



'Buy American' provision

We are concerned, however, that the U.S. stimulus package still contains a "Buy American" provision, which imposes a general requirement giving priority to purchasing products made in the United States for projects funded in the package.


The "Buy American" requirement will be applied in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations under international treaties. However, the standards under which the provision will be applied are ambiguous. The United States should remove protectionist pressures in line with the G-7 statement.


The joint statement also welcomed China's fiscal measures and the appreciation of the Chinese yuan. It showed the G-7 countries' expectation that China will fulfill its role in the global economy.


The second financial summit will be held in April, with India, China and other countries sitting at the table. The summit's success will hinge on whether G-7 countries can finish writing a prescription that will cure the global recession.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 16, 2009)

20092160147  読売新聞)


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