Interview Ludger Schuknecht + Habeck in Singapore
"We need to rethink our trade policy," declared Economics Minister Habeck right at the opening podium of the Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business in Singapore on Saturday. What he meant above all was: In order to be more independent from China, Germany needs new partners – especially in Asia. Malte Kreuzfeldt is on the ground in Singapore to see how offensive and at the same time value-based the free trade offensive in the region can actually be. His conclusion: The wheels of diversification grind slowly. A free trade agreement between the EU and India remains a tough nut to crack in terms of negotiations. Countries like Pakistan or the Philippines are still a long way from meeting European human rights standards. Plus: Even if one day Germany is more broadly positioned, China will remain very important for German companies.
The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in June 2016 was the first creation of a new World Bank-style global institution since World War II. And the first global institution to originate from China. Since then, the ever-expanding institution has been seen, especially in the West, as Beijing's tool to push its own interests and undermine the established global financial system around the World Bank and IMF. In an interview with Frank Sieren, Ludger Schuknecht, Vice Chairman of the AIIB, vehemently disagrees. The AIIB is not a cover for China to realize New Silk Road projects with debt traps. It is first and foremost "a climate bank" that is not dominated by any party, country, or group of countries. What is true, however, is that it offers emerging economies in Asia, Africa, and South America the opportunity to emancipate themselves from the US and Europe, he said. "Our customers are fed up with camp thinking," said Schuknecht, who served as Chief Economist under then Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.
By the way: Tomorrow, our colleagues from Security.Table, headed by Marco Seliger, will start with their first issue. The editorial team also includes Thomas Wiegold, Nana Brink, and Viktor Funk. They report not just on the turning point in the Bundeswehr but also analyze changes in global security and defense policy. After all, Ukraine will be an area of conflict in the long term – in addition, the overall global balance of power is shifting: China versus the USA, autocracies versus democracies. You can test the service free of charge here.