In Davos, Germany's Merkel warns protectionism not the answer to world's problems

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told the World Economic Forum in Davos that isolationism and protectionism were not solutions to the economic challenges facing countries around the world.
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German chancellor Angela Merkel addreses the annual World Economic Forum on Jan 24, 2018 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. PHOTO: AFP

DAVOS, Switzerland (REUTERS, AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Wednesday (Jan 24) that "protectionism is not the answer" to the world's problems, addressing the Davos economic summit ahead of an appearance by US President Donald Trump.

"We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the answer," Dr Merkel said in a speech, a day before the arrival of the US president whose "America First" trade policies have raised concern among defenders of globalisation.

Dr Merkel also told the audience that she was open-minded about what kind of partnership the European Union would develop with Britain after Brexit, but noted that there could be no compromise on the EU's core principles in those talks.

"We want a close partnership with the United Kingdom," she said.

She also said Europe should not complain when other countries, like the United States, overhaul their tax systems but instead respond with reforms of its own.

Speaking one day before Mr Trump arrives at the gathering of the global elite in the Swiss Alps, Dr Merkel pointed to efforts by France and Germany to forge a common corporate tax regime, and said European countries would need to cope with a more competitive tax environment.

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