Welcome to 'Euroland'. That's the European answer to Asian concerns that the euro might spark a new bout of protectionist trade barriers. 'Asian goods will become more competitive in Europe, but we are adamant about keeping our markets open,' Etienne Reuter, the European Commission's head in the SAR, said. 'Efforts by those who think Europe should be protected from cheap Asian imports are being resisted.' His insistence that the EMU was not a protectionist plot was echoed at a recent roadshow organisedby the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce to explain the euro's implications. Jean-Claude Trichet, governor of the French central bank, Banque de France, said: 'The single currency area will be more open to the rest of the world. There is no 'Fortress Europe' in this respect. Instead, there is a Europe which is more coupled to the rest of the world than other big economies and which will probably couple itself more because of the euro.' Dr Jurgen Pfister, head of economic research at Germany's Commerzbank, also denied the euro was a protectionist plot. 'An economic strengthening of western Europe will also benefit Asia and North America,' he said. 'From an Asian perspective, Europe will be more attractive and challenging. Asian suppliers will be confronted with a huge market in one currency instead of 11. It will be easier to penetrate this larger, integrated market.'