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Financial Post, Weekly edition, November 22, 1975


The Message of Rambouillet

The economic summit meeting which concluded last weekend at the elegant chateau at Rambouillet, France, marks at least a start in achieving much-needed closer co-operation in economic policy among the major industrial nations.

The experience of the last three years surely shows that greater collaboration in determining interest-rate levels, applying measures of stimulus or restraint, and fixing exchange rates is necessary to avoid the harmful effects that can occur when one or two nations act unilaterally.

The U.S., even though it still produces 40% of the total output of non-Communist industrial nations, is well aware of the importance of multinational economic co-operation. President Gerald Ford quickly accepted French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's invitation to attend the summit meeting.

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, the French government refused to include Canada in the summit, despite representations by the U.S. and other invited nations to do so. Clearly the French believe that the U.S. can speak for North America. From the large Economic Community, however, France included, in addition to itself, only Germany, Britain and Italy. Japan was the other participant.

While Canada as an important producer of raw materials was pointedly excluded, the Rambouillet gathering is a welcome sign of international economic co-operation. What is important now is that this first economic summit must be followed by regular future meetings. In the intervals between future summits, there should also be, as U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has suggested, periodic meetings at the ministerial level to "follow up on the policy directions set at the summit."

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