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Kalshoven, Frank

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De Volkskrant - Netherlands | 08/03/2009

No holidays in your home country

Frank Heemskerk, Dutch minister for foreign trade, has called on his fellow citizens to spend their holidays in their own country in a bid to boost the economy. The left-liberal daily De Volkskrant denounces this as protectionism: "[Heemskerk's] appeal is silly. Just imagine if every government were to tell its citizens to buy goods and services from their own country and citizens obeyed en masse. What would be the result? International trade would shrink. Which countries would suffer most? Not the small countries which are virtually self-sufficient and barely trade with other countries. And not the major economies which in absolute terms export a lot but where foreign trade accounts for a relatively small proportion of national income. No, the hardest hit would be the small and open economies - like the Netherlands."

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