Bush seeks continuation of free and open market policies

November 15th, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 15 (IANS) Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies began a summit on the global financial crisis with US President George W. Bush seeking a continuation of policies of free and open markets.”The surest path to that growth is to continue policies of free and open markets. Free market capitalism has been an engine of prosperity, progress, and social mobility in economies all over the globe,” he said in a welcome toast at the White House.

Listening to him at the working dinner Friday night were Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging nations that together account for 90 percent of global economy.

The group brings together Group of Seven industrial nations, a dozen emerging markets like India, China, Brazil, and South Africa and the European Union.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahuwalia, who is playing the Prime Minister’s ’sherpa’ at the Summit and Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Ashok Chawla and other delegates were guests at a separate dinner hosted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

“Trade and investment have been-have linked our economies together- creating new customers for businesses and workers, and greater choices and lower prices for consumers,” Bush said asking all nations to “reject calls for protectionism, collectivism, and defeatism in the face of our current challenge.”

“We share a concern about the impact of the global financial crisis on the people of our nations. We share a determination to fix the problems that led to this turmoil,” said Bush adding, “We share a conviction that by working together, we can restore the global economy to the path of long-term prosperity.”

Laying down the agenda for Saturday’s summit, Bush said: “When we sit down at the summit table tomorrow, we bring clear priorities. Tomorrow’s discussion will be the first in a series of meetings.”

Bush suggested that the summit focus on five key objectives - “understanding the causes of the global crisis, reviewing the effectiveness of our responses thus far, identifying principles for reforming our financial and regulatory systems, launching a specific action plan to implement those principles, and reaffirming our conviction that free market principles offer the surest path to lasting prosperity.”

Bush said “There is more work to do beyond the immediate crisis, and the stakes are indeed high,” noting that “developing nations need the assistance they have been promised-as well as additional foreign investment-to continue their journey from poverty to promise.”

“The leaders had a good, productive meeting,” said White House press secretary Dana Perino in a statement later adding, they “look forward to meeting tomorrow to launch an effort to take concrete actions to protect the global financial system.”

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