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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, September 1, 2016

Lew: Obama’s final G20 agenda includes economic growth, access for all

By Lisa M. Goolik, J.D.

In remarks before the Brookings Institution on Aug. 31, 2016, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob L. Lew discussed President Barack Obama’s agenda for his final G-20 Leaders Summit in Hangzou, China. According to Lew, the President will press the G-20 on several issues—including addressing excess capacity, protecting the working and middle classes, and financial reform—to help ensure stronger growth, an environmentally sustainable future, and a global economy that benefits everyone.

Stronger growth. Support for the global economy should be stronger, and more countries have room to enact pro-growth policies, said Lew. President Obama will advocate for macroeconomic support, which Lew believes "is essential for many structural reforms to be successful, both to provide important transitional assistance to displaced workers, and regions, and to boost an economy during an adjustment period when necessary structural changes can lead to a short term decline in economic activity, such as when excess industrial capacity is retired."

Expanding on the subject of excess capacity, Lew noted that the President will press for action on excess capacity in the steel industry. "Excess capacity distorts markets and the environment, harms our workers, and runs counter to our efforts to achieve strong, sustainable, and balanced growth," said Lew.

Inclusive growth. Lew also stated that the G-20 must ensure that "the benefits of growth are broadly shared by all our citizens, and that the benefits of global economic integration reach working and middle class families through better jobs and living standards." To that end, President Obama intends to push other leaders for greater emphasis on inclusive growth and will "encourage countries to develop action plans to promote digital financial inclusion so that banking services become more universally available," Lew promised.

Lew also noted that the President will also "continue to emphasize the importance of the G-20’s work to ensure a level playing field for workers and businesses to compete."

Financial reform. "The U.S. financial system is considerably stronger than it was eight years ago, and we will continue to work with the G-20 and the Financial Stability Board it created to strengthen regulation and supervision of the financial system, which in most cases brought standards closer to our own," said Lew. Accordingly, the President will push all countries to implement the agreed financial reform agenda on a timely basis.

Protecting the economy. Lew also stated that President Obama will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to protecting the U.S. financial system from money laundering, terrorist financing, and sanctions evasion while preserving access to the economy. "Access to the formal banking system is not only a key to unlocking economic potential, it is a critical way to avoid illicit activity in an informal cash economy," said Lew.

Climate change. Lew also discussed the impact of climate change. "Climate change remains a serious threat to the global economy and to international security, and no nation is immune. The longer we wait to address this challenge, the more costly it will be, both in financial and human terms. The G-20 must continue to exercise leadership in meeting this critical challenge," said Lew.

Companies: Brookings Institution

MainStory: TopStory FinancialStability

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