Hudghton (ARE) - Madam President, with three major economic upheavals within a few years in Asia, Russia and now Latin America, there should perhaps be some lessons for us in this experience and we should learn from our mistakes. There seems to be a remarkable similarity between the build-up to the Asia crisis and that more recently in Brazil with, in both cases, massive lending power being given on the basis of overoptimistic projections of growth and industrialisation. Investors, of course, can leave as quickly as they arrive, taking their money with them. And when the bottom falls out of an economy there can be enormous knock on effects. In Scotland, as elsewhere, we are still suffering from the effects of the Asia crisis, with promised investments failing to materialise and with delays in lowering interest rates and the strong exchange rate of sterling continuing to hit our industries and our exports hard. While the crisis in Brazil may not be quite so serious it can still have repercussions. Greater economic stability in Europe should increase our ability to safeguard the well-being of those of our citizens most directly affected.

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