Japan pledges $17b aid for Asian countries

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso pledged 1.5 trillion yen (17 billion dollars) in aid to other Asian countries on Saturday as leaders wrapped up the Davos forum after four days of agonising about the world economy.

The initiative by Japan, aimed at funding infrastructure projects to boost economic growth in its Asian neighbours, capped a week of gloomy talks about how to jumpstart the world economy and put an end to the financial crisis.

“We must admit that the year 2009 opened on a very somber note,” Aso told delegates here during a six-hour trip to the Swiss ski mountain that hosts the World Economic Forum each year.

The final day was marked by demonstrations in Davos and Geneva where hundreds gathered to express their anger at the elite business and political chiefs here who are blamed by many for the crisis.

Police in Geneva used tear gas after being pelted with bottles and fireworks as demonstrators tried to stage a march through the city centre that had been banned by local authorities.

In Davos, a group of protestors walked through the village, holding a giant banner that read “You Are The Crisis”. Another small group chanting “No To the WEF” threw fake blood on security barriers and ripped down sheeting on the perimeter.

Inside the congress centre, top trade ministers met on Saturday and said there was a “sound basis” for agreeing a new global free trade pact this year amid growing fears about protectionism as the economic crisis bites.

Head of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, warned that trade was “already a casualty” of the global slowdown, with sharp falls in trade flows exacerbating unemployment.

Ministers have been struggling to agree a trade deal since talks were launched in Doha in 2001. Supporters hope a deal can be quickly agreed to send a signal of support for globalisation.

Fear of protectionism has stalked this year’s Davos meeting, with leaders and business officials stressing the danger that the next phase of the economic crisis could be government policies that crimp trade.

“Throwing trade out with the bath water is a big mistake,” Lamy said.

Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon said: “There were fears about protectionism which is on the rise. Trade is not part of the problem, it is a stimulus.”

Climate change, energy shortages, as well as water and food insecurity, featured on a long list of issues facing policymakers in addition to battling recessions and preventing banking collapses.

The defining moments of Davos 2009 were provided by an explosive debate on the Middle East and the sight of the prime ministers of Russia and China lecturing the United States on its past economic mismanagement.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said America’s voracious appetite for debt and “blind pursuit of profit” had led to the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The daily star 01.02.2009



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