Abe, Merkel eye rebuilding global trade system and data protection
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for rebuilding the global trade system in a multilateral world and the significance of data protection in their special addresses during the World Economic Forum in the Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.
Abe makes G20 to-do list at Davos
In a speech to the forum, Abe said he will seek to use his chairmanship of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies to rebuild trust in the global trade system, and will also seek to spearhead discussions on climate change and ways to facilitate the use of digital data while protecting intellectual property.
At his previous Davos visit in 2014, Abe pledged to pull the economy out of stagnation with his "Abenomics" mix of fiscal spending, ultra-easy monetary policy and steps to boost Japan's potential growth via labor market reform and deregulation.
Five years later, the boost to growth from Abenomics is fading, inflation remains far below the Bank of Japan's target and critics point to a lack of progress on deregulation.
Abe sought to counter such criticism, saying that through job-creating policies he had demolished "a wall of despair and pessimism on Japan" that had existed five years ago.
Merkel eyes for new global architecture
Merkel presented a full-throated defense of the collaborative development of a new global architecture. The chancellor said she has grave doubts about the "new approach" which doubts the validity of the international system and wants to look out for themselves first.
"A global architecture will only work if we are all ready and willing to compromise," Merkel said.
She also mentioned three main challenges facing Germany: The energy transition, as they leave nuclear and coal power behind; speeding up the process of digitalization; and demographic change, as they adopt immigration legislation for skilled labor.
On Brexit, Merkel said, "We all have to deal with the shock that Britain wants to leave the EU. We want to have good future partnerships and we're dependent on good cooperation with Britain."
Merkel also welcomed the data protection announced by Abe in his special address earlier in the day. Artificial intelligence also requires global cooperation and engagement through a collective architecture, she said.
Merkel also noted the populist challenges. "We have to stand up against them. I will come out strongly in favor of a multilateral order, not ending with the EU, but one that gives good answers to challenges of tomorrow."
(Top image via VCG Photo)
(With inputs from Reuters and official website of World Economic Forum)