Peter Schiff: The world could get along just fine without freeloading Americans

Section:

By B.K. Sidhu, Muguntan Vanar,
and Ruben Sario
The Star
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Wednesday, March 30, 3005

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?
file=/2005/3/30/business/10547137&sec=business

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia -- The U.S. dollar is facing an imminent
collapse, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad warned yesterday.

The former prime minister told a conference of some 650 chief
executives from 30 countries in Kota Kinabalu that a standard gold
currency was the best alternative for international trade.

The dollar was only retaining some value because of fears of a
global economic catastrophe if it was rejected as a currency of
trade, he said in his keynote address, "Leadership in the Age of
Uncertainties -- The Effect of Global Events in Business."

"But the catastrophe will come one day, because even the most
powerful country in the world cannot repay loans amounting to US$7
trillion," Dr. Mahathir said at the closing of the three-day
international CEO conference.

"The uncertainty is with the timing, not whether it will
collapse."

Noting that the dollar had devalued by as much as 50% against the
yen, he said it was doubtful if the greenback could recover to its
old strength. Instead, it would continue to slide, as the present
American administration under President George W. Bush did not
consider deficits worth reducing.

Dr. Mahathir said that due to America's huge deficit, the U.S.
currency had no backing but continued in use because some people
still accepted payments in dollars.

"But there will come a time when we will switch away from the
dollar, and we have suggested the use of gold for international
trade," he said.

He added that if companies did not want to be "shortchanged," they
should insist on payments in alternative currencies such as the euro
or be paid in U.S. dollars in euro-equivalent value.

Dr. Mahathir later told reporters that he was giving his personal
views after having studied the current depreciation of the dollar.

"Unless they (Americans) change their president and have a more
responsible president who will try to reduce the deficit, they will
have serious trouble with the U.S. currency," he said.

On whether Malaysia should reject the use of the greenback for
trade, he said it was up to the government to decide.

"But it has to be seen if the U.S. will be responsible enough, and
start to reduce its deficit," he added.

Dr. Mahathir said he believed central banks worldwide were reducing
their U.S. dollar reserves, and he suspected that Bank Negara was
also switching to other currencies.

He also said that local companies going abroad should form an
association open to credible members who can deliver the job.

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