- The Washington Times - Friday, November 30, 2001

The chairman of DaimlerChrysler defended globalization yesterday but conceded that he and other businesses leaders could do a much better job selling their views to a skeptical public.

Jurgen Schrempp spoke before a packed house at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the German executive as part of its series of CEO Leadership Luncheons.

"We need to show more initiative and represent ourselves better," he said. "Where globalization is concerned, businessmen should not abdicate to politicians the responsibility of stating their own case."

Mr. Schrempp cautiously spoke against the critics of multinational corporations like his, and touched on how the terrorist attacks of September 11 have created negative attitudes toward globalization.

DaimlerChrysler is one of the world's largest automobile manufacturers, with nearly 400,000 employees in 200 countries. The company was formed in 1998 via a merger of U.S.-based Chrysler Corp. and Daimler-Benz, the German company that manufactures Mercedes-Benz cars.

Mr. Schrempp said the company plans to spend more that $30 billion in the United States over the next five years.

"We remain deeply committed to the dynamic global entity created by the merger of two superb companies," he said. "I am personally excited by the global challenges facing DaimlerChrysler."

Mr. Schrempp argued that globalization has led to technological advances, economic growth and a growing appreciation for human rights. But he agreed the protests against globalization have been growing, thus giving him pause.

"From this level of protest, I can only conclude that we have not been very successful in communicating the benefits of globalization to some very important and legitimate groupings including influential nongovernment organizations," he said.

He went on: "We may even have to confront some uncomfortable truths about ourselves. One of our shortcomings is beyond debate: emerging economies need more realistic levels of compassion and support from governments and the private sector."

And, he said, the September 11 attacks should not be a reason to stray from plans of globalization.

"Terrorism of the kind experienced on September 11 will impact temporarily on the spirit of globalization," Mr. Schrempp said. "But it is an aberration that will be stamped out. In the interim we will not allow this deviant behavior to damage our best efforts to build a better world."


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