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Saturday 4 February 2012

US, EU must deepen economic ties to fight crisis: Hillary Clinton

MUNICH: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton today called for Europe and the United States to trade more and urged them to "work harder" together to battle economic crises.

In a speech in Munich, Clinton voiced confidence that Europe has "the will and the means" to cut runaway debt, build "the necessary firewalls" to protect the euro and take steps to spur growth.

While acknowledging that the United States was dealing with its own financial crisis, Clinton pointed to improved US jobs figures, which showed unemployment dropping to 8.3% -- its lowest level since February 2009.

"Although we get good news from time to time as we did yesterday with jobs figures and drops in unemployment, we know we have a ways to go as well," she said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual defence policy gathering.

"As Europe emerges from economic crisis, we have to work harder to reinforce each other's recoveries. As deep as our economic relationship is, it has not yet lived up to its potential," Clinton said.

A US-European Union working group on jobs and growth, launched by President Barack Obama and EU leaders, must be at the "forefront of our efforts to put our people back to work," she said.

Clinton called for the United States and Europe to trade more with each other and the rest of the world, and team up to break down trade barriers.

"Too often, American and European companies face unfair practises that tilt the playing field against us," she said, denouncing "favouritism for state-owned enterprises, barriers to trade" and investment restrictions.

"Together, America and Europe need to instill that all nations must respect the rules of the road that guarantee fair competition and market access," she added.

She did not name any countries but the United States and European Union have repeatedly complained about China's trade policies, including restrictive market access to foreign companies. 


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