Obama: G20 must lay groundwork for growth

September 9, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joseph Biden walk toward the Oval Office at the White House in Washington September 8, 2009.    REUTERS/Larry Downing By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama laid out a broad vision on Tuesday for the upcoming G20 meeting he will host, saying the world’s biggest economies must “lay the groundwork” for sustainable economic growth in the future.

Obama gathers his counterparts on Sept. 24-25 in Pittsburgh just as the world economy inches toward a recovery, but the president said he wanted the summit to focus on how to make sure nations can avoid another economic fall.

“The Pittsburgh Summit is an important opportunity to continue the hard work that we have done in confronting the global economic crisis, and renewing prosperity for our people,” Obama said in a statement.

“Together, we will review the progress we have made, assess what more needs to be done, and discuss what we can do together to lay the groundwork for balanced and sustainable economic growth,” he said.

G20 finance leaders meeting in London over the weekend said trillions of dollars of emergency economic support would be needed for some time and pledged not to remove stimulus money until the recovery was well entrenched.

The leaders also said — for the first time — that there should be coordination on stimulus policy reversals to avoid adverse international fallout.

Obama highlighted progress in the U.S. and world economies in the last several months. Industrial production had stabilized or started to grow throughout the G20, he said, while global trade was expanding and financial institutions were raising capital again.

Even so, the G20’s work was far from complete, he said.

“As the leaders of the world’s largest economies, we have a responsibility to work together on behalf of sustained growth, while putting in place the rules of the road that can prevent this kind of crisis from happening again,” Obama said.

“To avoid being trapped in the cycle of bubble and bust, we must set a path for sustainable growth while steering clear of the imbalances of the past.”

Obama said that goal would be a key part of the G20 agenda going forward and said the Pittsburgh meeting could be “an important milestone” in those efforts.

The G20 is a group of central bankers and finance ministers from 19 developed and major developing economy countries and the European Union that first met in 1999 in Berlin to discuss key issues in the global economy, following the financial crises of the 1990s.

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