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Schröder: Asia-Pacific Partnership Should Expand

Chancellor Schröder: Partnership with Asia-Pacific countries should be expanded

Speaking on September 15 at the opening of this year's Asia-Pacific Weeks in Berlin, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called for an expansion of relations with the region, observing that "Asia has a huge potential for growth and, as such, is of major interest to German industry."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

Schröder remarked that the economic importance of the Asia-Pacific region has increased significantly in recent years, indicating that German trade with the ASEAN countries now exceeds that with North America.

Germany, for its part, is the most important European trading partner for most Asian countries and wants to continue to expand its trade relations with them. It takes the view that the partnership that exists between the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union should be strengthened, particularly in the cultural and academic areas.

The time frame for the fourth Asia-Pacific Weeks is September 15 to 28. They were first held in 1997 at the initiative of the Mayor of Berlin. Once every two years since then they have provided a widely recognized platform for political, economic, academic, and cultural exchange between Asia and Europe.

Around 250 events of a cultural, academic, or business nature have been scheduled with a special focus on India. In 2001 China was the focal country and in 1999 Japan.

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