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Germany sees debate at IMF meeting on rising opposition to free trade
October 5, 2016 / 11:06 AM / a year ago

Germany sees debate at IMF meeting on rising opposition to free trade

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble speaks at a news conference on 2017 budget and financial plan till 2020 in Berlin, Germany July 6, 2016. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany expects an intense debate at the IMF meeting in Washington this week on how to address the growing risks of populism and opposition to free trade in countries around the globe, a senior German government official said on Wednesday.

“For us and also many others, a free world economy, free movement of goods and no protectionism are basic pillars of an order that we have always advocated and supported,” the senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

“In that sense we’ll discuss very intensively with the IMF how we must deal with these partially new risks in individual countries and world regions in order not to see these risks materialising and, in the end, a gradual slowdown of the world economy,” the official added.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is likely to stress at the IMF meeting that Germany’s investment rate is above the European average and that Berlin plans to further boost domestic demand with additional tax cuts, the official said.

The IMF maintained its forecast for weak global growth on Tuesday and warned that further stagnation will fuel more populist sentiment against trade and immigration that would stifle activity, productivity and innovation.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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