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Bonn Minister, in U.S. for Talks, Sees Economic Cooperation as World Priority

February 04, 1988|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — West German Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg said Wednesday that an agreement among the largest industrial democracies to keep currencies stable should be continued and deepened in the period ahead.

In a largely optimistic assessment of the current state of financial markets, Stoltenberg said economic cooperation was being taken more seriously by the international economic community.

He met with a small group of reporters following talks with Treasury Secretary James Baker, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker.

The meeting with the Treasury Secretary was considered a stock-taking of the economic issues that divided the two countries and was designed to reduce market concerns that new problems might be unfolding.

U.S.-German Dispute Flares

A dispute between West Germany and the United States flared into the open just before the stock market collapse in October that had left investors fearful about the state of multinational economic cooperation.

"I can stress that this detailed, thorough conversation with by colleague, Jim Baker, not only took place in a cordial atmosphere, but produced full harmony on the question of cooperation in economic and currency policies on the basis of the Dec. 22 declaration," Stoltenberg said.

The Group of Seven countries--the United States, West Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Japan and Italy--issued a statement in December saying that they shared a common interest in having more stable currency rates.

Wildly gyrating currency values and a sharp decline in the value of the dollar were also considered key elements in the stock market rout.

The seven industrial democracies made it clear in their December statement that they thought a further drop in the dollar could damage prospects for global economic growth.

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