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Tariffs will not solve problems, says DSM official

By Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-28 10:48
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DSM flag is seen at the headquarters in Heerlen, Netherlands, Aug 30, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Putting up tariff barriers will not eliminate the negative impact brought about by globalization such as job losses, but reeducating workers will, a top company executive of Royal DSM said.

Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM, a Dutch multinational company specializing in nutrition, health and sustainable living, said in an interview with China Daily that as a company that embraces globalization, he believes "putting up a fence" in the form of tariffs will not solve any problem.

"Globalization is a good thing for the world and good for billions of people," he said. "What you do in globalization is you are specializing skilled people and then we trade, exchange and manufacture."

He said the problem with globalization was that although billions of people have benefited, not everyone has been included in the fruits of global industrial distribution.

"Certain areas in the European Union, in the United Kingdom and in the US, they have not been benefited and they feel they don't fit in globalization," he said.

While one can put up fences by placing higher duties on imported goods in order to protect people from job losses, Sijbesma said it would not be his solution.

"We can also re-skill people," he said. "What you did before is not competitive anymore, and let me help you do something else."

"We should not go anti-globalization, which some countries are doing now, but continue globalization, which is good for many people, we need to make it more inclusive. For those who haven't benefited from globalization, we can reeducate and re-skill them," he added.

While the United States and China are the top two markets of DSM, Sijbesma said the company's business globally has not seen much damage from escalating trade disputes.

He said the company did see some markets as being "a little bit down" but this was caused mainly by slowing global trade, and the macroeconomic environment will not affect the company's commitment to invest further in China.

"We are continuing to invest in China now and in the future. We are fully committed to this country," he said. "The market is so big that we can manufacture for (the)Chinese market and also for (the) overseas market. China is putting more effort into innovation. It has 2 million technical students graduating every year and this provides opportunities for innovation."

Jiang Weiming, president of DSM China, said the country has exerted a lot of effort to stay attractive to foreign companies and the Foreign Investment Law passed early in 2019 was the first law to systematically protect the rights and interests of foreign companies.

"It is a very good law," Jiang said.

"The global investment has been declining in recent years, especially from 2017 to 2018," said Yuan Gaoqiang, deputy head of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment. "While international capital flow has shrunk, plus the uncertainty the Sino-US trade friction has brought to the global economy, China still remains popular for foreign investors."

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