Obama on farewell tour says globalization is here to stay
US President Barack Obama has strongly defended globalization during his visit to Berlin on his final European tour before leaving office. He will stay in Germany until Friday before heading to Peru for the APEC summit.
In a joint article for business magazine Wirtschaftswoche Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said cooperation was vital in terms of the rapidly growing global economy and “there will not be a return to a world before globalization.”
“Germans and Americans must take the opportunity to shape globalization according to our values and ideas. We are committed to broadening and deepening our cooperation with our businesses and our citizens, indeed the whole of the world community," they said.
While visiting Athens, Obama acknowledged that globalization had fueled a "sense of injustice" and needed a "course correction" to address growing inequality.
The US and German leaders expressed support for the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU, saying it was a chance to “shape globalization based on our values.”
The strong support of the international trade deal comes as a counterweight to US President-elect Donald Trump’s protectionist stance. Trump has been a critic of global free trade agreements and welcomed Britain's vote to leave the EU.
TTIP “would help us grow and remain globally competitive for decades to come” and that it would “lift living standards” for both European and US “employers, workers, consumers, and farmers,” the Obama-Merkel article said.
Thousands of Europeans have protested against TTIP since the trade deal was proposed three years ago. They have criticized the treaty for its secretiveness and lack of accountability.
Trump has also opposed the agreement, blaming similar economic pacts like NAFTA for job losses in the US.
TTIP aims to promote trade and multilateral economic growth by creating the world’s largest free trade zone between the United States and the European Union.