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Merkel Calls for Ground Rules for Globalization

As Germany's G8 presidency nears its end, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on leaders of global economic institutions to establish a set of political ground rules to make globalization more socially equitable.

A female worker works on shirts to be exported to the United States at Garment Company 10 outside Hanoi, Vietnam

Give globalization a human face, Merkel said

Merkel made her plea for a kinder, gentler form of globalization at a meeting in Berlin to which she had invited the leaders of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking at a press conference

Merkel said globalization's stability depends on its fairness

"We need a coherent overall concept for everything we do to promote open markets, fair competition, sustainable development and socially equitable growth and employment," Merkel said on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

She said that while the opportunities created by globalization outweighed the risks, the process needed to be shaped more constructively. The leaders discussed issues such as transparency in financial markets, intellectual property rights, open trade and supporting development.

Meeting may become annual event

Merkel said she would suggest to Japan, which takes the reins of the G8 presidency next month, that it continue to gather the leaders of global economic institutions for regular talks on globalization.

Anti-globalization activists from attac protest the WTO

Anti-globalization activists from attac protest the WTO

OECD General Secretary Jose Angel Gurria supported her, saying that his suggestion that the five organizations meet once a year "on a more structured basis" in future had been received positively.

Merkel called for the long-running Doha round of global trade talks to be wrapped up successfully, and promised the head of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, Germany's full support. On Wednesday, WTO officials said that, with a lot of hard work, the Doha negotiations aimed at boosting world trade by opening up markets to developing nations could be concluded in 2008.

Crisis demonstrates need for transparency

Merkel also spoke about the recent turmoil on credit markets caused by speculative investments in US home loans, saying that the crisis only demonstrated the need to increase transparency in financial markets.

"We have to be able to better understand new financial market instruments," she said, adding that this was not just limited to hedge funds. Steps to ensure greater transparency on the financial markets would be on the agenda at the next EU summit in March 2008, Merkel said.

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