The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 12, 2008

Press Briefing by Daniel Price and David McCormick on the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

3:05 P.M. EST

MR. PRICE: Good afternoon. My name is Dan Price. I'm the Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. And I'm here today with Under Secretary of the Treasury Dave McCormick, and we're here to provide a briefing on the financial summit.

We will do this in two parts. I will provide an overview of kind of the structure of the summit and what some of our objectives are and how we think it will go. And then Dave will take the podium to run through a number of those areas where we believe there is sufficient common ground that leaders may be in a position to take some near-term decisions and some near-term actions.

So, starting at the beginning. Beginning this Friday evening, the President is gathering leaders in the first of a series of meetings to discuss efforts to deal with the present crisis, as well as to address longer-term financial and economic challenges.

In terms of the participation at this meeting, some had initially proposed that this summit be held among a relatively small group of countries, but the President felt it was very important to have a broader mix of countries, both developed and developing, from a number of regions to participate in this discussion. So the President concluded after consultations with other leaders that for this first summit, the Group of 20 offered a representative group of countries for an initial discussion, and importantly, the G20 had established channels of communication among officials to help both prepare for the summit and to continue work after the summit. These countries, the countries of the G20 plus the EU, together account for almost 90 percent of global GDP.

In addition to the leaders of the G20, the summit will be attended by the heads of the World Bank and the IMF, as well as the U.N. Secretary General and the Chairman of the Financial Stability Forum.

The President believes that the summit is an opportunity for a focused discussion on the global financial market crisis, and an opportunity to lay the foundation for making regulatory regimes more effective, fostering cooperation among regulators, and bringing needed reform to international organizations so that they may more effectively deal with today's global economy.

The effort to reform the world's financial markets is not the work of a single summit. So the summit on Saturday will be the first in a -- on Friday and Saturday -- will be the first in a series of meetings to discuss appropriate responses to the present turmoil in global financial markets, as well as to help ensure long-term prosperity.

The process is not about moving to a single global regulator. Indeed, we are unaware of any support from any quarter for empowering a single global authority to regulate the world's financial markets. The financial market turmoil has, however, clearly shown that there needs to be some changes in today's financial regulatory structures because all markets, particularly financial ones, are now closely interconnected.

So what are we likely to see at this summit? We think the discussion is likely to focus in a number of key areas. First, the President hopes that leaders will be able to reach agreement on a common understanding of the root causes of the crisis.

Second, we believe that leaders will want to review what they have done and will need to do to address the present crisis, as well as identify several areas where immediate steps could be taken to address present challenges.

Third, based on that shared understanding of causes, we expect leaders will discuss common principles for reform to guide future work so as to minimize the possibility that a similar crisis could, in the future, occur.

In terms of principles, we expect the leaders' discussion really to focus around four principles: first, strengthening transparency and accountability; second, enhancing sound regulation by improving regulatory regimes, credential oversight, and risk management; third, promoting integrity in financial markets; and fourth, reenforcing international cooperation both at the level of national regulators and laws, but also, importantly, through reform of international financial institutions.

Fourth, to ensure that these principles are implemented, we expect that leaders will want to come to an agreement on an action plan identifying specific implementation measures.

Fifth, because this is an enormously complex area, we expect the leaders will want to task work to develop recommendations to be considered by leaders at a subsequent meeting.

Finally, and critically important from our perspective, the President believes that leaders must bear in mind that as we work on these important issues, that needed reforms will only be successful if they are also based on a common commitment to free market principles, including open and competitive economies, expanded trade, and increased investment in capital flows. The President will, therefore, use this opportunity to urge his fellow leaders not to turn inward or stifle markets. Protectionist rhetoric about walling off markets or companies does not help stabilize markets, but in fact leads to greater uncertainty. And history has shown us that protectionist measures exacerbate, they do not moderate, periods of economic instability.

Finally, the President expects that leaders will want to ensure that the international financial institutions stand ready to support emerging and developing economies that are being affected by the crisis and he will emphasize, as he did at the recent White House Summit on Development, the importance of donor countries following through on the development assistance commitments they have made. Difficult economic times should not be an excuse for walking away from promises made to those most in need.

I'd like to now turn it over to Dave McCormick to go into a little more detail on some of the areas where we think early action may be taken, as well as those areas for longer-term reform. And then we'll both take questions. Thank you.


UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: Thanks. Good afternoon. So in terms of the discussion of the financial market turmoil and the reform agenda, we've had a lot of interaction through the finance minister channels and through the sherpa channels, and there's really two main areas that I would suspect will get a lot of discussion. The first is near-term actions that countries are taking or will take in the future to try to address some of the current challenges we see in the markets and the current financial crisis.

So those would include things like fiscal measures to stimulate demand. And you've seen in recent weeks a number of countries have announced very significant plans in that area; others are considering those, and that's certainly one area of policy where there will be a lot of discussion.

The second would be efforts to provide much needed liquidity in trade finance to many of the emerging markets. So I was just in Brazil last weekend. One of the things I heard -- and many of us have been hearing -- is that as this crisis has spread to other parts of the world, there are many countries, developing countries' emerging markets where there's really a credit crunch, and what can be done to provide liquidity. The Fed has taken some actions with currency swaps, the IMF has taken some actions, but that's certainly an area that will be ripe for discussion.

A third is the availability of needed resources within the international financial institutions: the IMF, the World Bank, the regional development banks. Those, of course, are in response mode, those institutions, to try to address some of the challenges on the ground from a development standpoint and from a macroeconomic standpoint. And so, are they an appropriate resource? What do they need to do to be even more effective in responding to the crisis?

And then finally, there's been a great deal of coordinated monetary policy, and certainly that's something that will be addressed, as well, within the context of the broader macroeconomic overview.

So those I suspect will get a fair amount of attention. In addition, there will also be, as Dan described, a focused discussion around the reform agenda. And it's an ambitious reform agenda. There's been a lot of work already, but those are important steps on a much more significant path of reform.

Within those four areas that Dan laid out -- transparency and accountability, sound regulation, integrity in our financial markets, and international cooperation -- there are a number of topics that leaders might touch on. One under the area of transparency and accountability would be global accounting standards. This has been an area that's gotten a lot of attention, and by creating a more aligned and ultimately convergence of global accounting standards, that reduces a huge burden on businesses and ensures a level playing field in terms of how we measure the performance of different businesses.

There's been a lot of discussion up until this point about the complexity and the opaqueness of some of the products, the financial services products that have been developed. So the role of regulators in enhancing the transparency of those complex products will certainly be an area that I suspect will be touched on, and then the importance of financial reporting, and financial reporting in a way that captures all the activity under a financial institution, both on balance sheet and off balance sheet activity. These are the kinds of themes that we would expect to be touched on under the broader heading of transparency and accountability.

There's also a lot that could be discussed under the notion of sound regulation. Credit rating agencies have been something you've all probably read a bit about and seen mentioned regularly by a number of different officials. And certainly in the United States, we have led the effort and the discussion to ensure that credit rating agencies need a higher standard, an international code of conduct in terms of their conflict of interest, their disclosure, in terms of the need for a differentiated scale for evaluating these complex structure products versus the more traditional products that credit rating agencies have been focused on. That's a problem that's clearly been identified from the past; it would be a focus in the discussions. And ensuring that these credit rating agencies have the right incentives -- the right incentives to provide the appropriate information to the investor, and have avoided the conflicts that may be inherent in the current model.

I suspect, although it's a pretty technical issue, that there will also be some discussion around credit default swaps, and this is an area that's recently received a fair amount of discussion in the press, and finding ways to provide greater transparency to the over-the-counter derivatives market and over-the-counter derivatives transaction. This is a huge, many tens of trillions of dollars market, and we need to have greater transparency. We need to have an infrastructure that is able to accommodate these huge volumes of trading that take place. And it's really been an area that has been identified, but needs to have further momentum in terms of how we address that from a policy standpoint.

The importance of assessing risk concentrations, from a regulatory standpoint, and identifying some of the risk in the future that we didn't see identified in the current situation would also be a focus.

In the area of financial integrity, the integrity of markets, there's been a great deal of work done on our side in terms of the work of the SEC, in terms of guarding against market manipulation and taking steps with policy to guard against that. I suspect that will be discussed. As you've seen over the last three or four months there's been a number of countries that have rolled out policies in that area.

And then finally, in the area of reinforcing international cooperation, there's really two strands of discussion that I suspect will be touched on. One is the core missions and competencies of the international financial institutions: How do they need to reform? How can we ensure that in the future there's a great representation of the key players in the international economy? How should their governance structures be reformed to reflect the global economy as it exists today; how can it be more effective, more transparent? So there's a whole reform agenda around the international financial institutions that I expect will be touched upon.

One of the areas that I suspect you'll hear a bit about is the role of the Financial Stability Forum and the IMF, and how to ensure that they are integrated in terms of their respective roles. There's been some talk about expanding the role of the FSF, and that's certainly an area that we have believed over time that the FSF needs to be expanded to reflect better the key financial centers around the world.

And then, finally, I suspect the leaders will touch on the importance of finding ways to collaborate across global regulations. So regulations are historically national, but we certainly recognize the need to collaborate as much as possible and wherever possible to ensure that our regulations are aligned, to make sure that they don't disadvantage one country over another. And there may be a number of areas where our regulatory approaches can converge. So, accounting is a great example of that, where it makes all the sense in the world and it's to the benefit of everyone to have a common accounting standard.

So, how regulations can be collaborated and aligned, how they can converge, and how -- in the case if they truly are national regulations -- how we can ensure that they don't disadvantage one country over another is really a critical topic.

So I know that's a lot to throw at you, but I wanted to give you some sense of the conversations that have led up to the leaders meeting, some of the key things that I suspect will be on leaders' minds, and while, as I said, that's a fairly technical discussion, that's actually a very powerful and ambitious agenda. And I think it will hopefully lead to important steps going forward.


MR. PRICE: Let's open it for questions.

Q Isn't the downside potential greater than the upside possibility here? I mean, isn't this a very risky summit, in which case, if things don't go well both Bush and Obama could be seen as political losers?

MR. PRICE: We have, as a world community, very important issues before us: issues of the global economy, issues of needed reforms to financial markets. So we believe that the gathering of these leaders at this time is timely, is appropriate. And as I said, the work before us is not the work of a single summit, but we need to begin.

Q Do you think that Sarkozy and Gordon Brown have set the standards, the expectations too high, perhaps?

MR. PRICE: I actually think that there is a lot more common ground among countries who will be around the table than the rhetoric might suggest.

Q You spoke about protectionist language and how detrimental that would be, and I can't help but wonder if you were in some sense sending a message perhaps to President-Elect Obama and the Democrats who are talking about help for the auto industry. Is this a chance, is this summit a chance to kind of lay the groundwork for the Bush philosophy on these international economic matters going forward into the next administration?

MR. PRICE: I think we have heard from many, if not all, countries of the importance at this summit of addressing the need to keep the trade and investment liberalization momentum going. Virtually all countries from whom we have heard are hoping that coming out of this G20 summit will be a very strong statement in favor of concluding a framework for the Doha agreement this year. There is a great concern broadly shared among leaders that in times of stress there may be a temptation to turn inward and that this summit is an opportunity for all leaders to express their commitment that the path to prosperity lies in more trade and investment liberalization, not in erecting barriers.

Q Is that a message to President-Elect Obama?

MR. PRICE: As I said, this is something we have heard from virtually every country that they very much want to have on this agenda.

Q On the trade issue, a lot of countries in those same statements don't like it when other countries, their competitors, give subsidies to industries. Have you heard from anybody about the auto industry, any objections from any of the people that are coming about possible -- about the money that the government is giving?

MR. PRICE: The discussions that I have had through the sherpa channels have been focused on the level of policy and the importance of leaders sending a strong signal.

Q So that's a no?

MR. PRICE: As I said, the discussion has been at the level of principals. No one in our discussions, in the discussions that I have had, has raised any issue about any particular sector.

Q Under Secretary McCormick, you mentioned in your remarks about near-term actions, fiscal measures to stimulate demand, as one area of potential significant discussion. Will the U.S. be pushing for a global -- or the G20 together, collectively, putting together a plan of X dollars of fiscal stimulus?

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: Well, what's clear is that every country is in a different place in terms of where they are in responding to the crisis. And so that makes, I think, the likelihood of everybody being at the same place in terms of a fiscal measure very unlikely.

What we have seen -- as the crisis has spread to a number of the emerging markets, you've seen just in the last several weeks a number of countries come forward with fiscal measures. Of course, the United States had already come forward with not only the fiscal stimulus, but a number of other things that are stimulative in their nature -- the TARP and so forth.

But certainly, as we see a global slowdown, the fiscal measures that we're seeing around the world are an important part of the discussion and an important part of ensuring that the slowdown is dampened as much as possible.

Q And as a follow-up, you both have mentioned the IMF's role in this and making sure it has the resources to do its job, which everyone seems to acknowledge is growing significantly. Will the U.S. be pushing for a wider or a bigger capital injection to the IMF to help developing countries and some that are developed and having trouble?

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: Well, the IMF has about $200 billion of lending capacity. And if you look at the programs that have been initiated in recent months, it's used a portion of that, but a relatively small portion. So it's not clear that the needs at the moment exceed the availability of credit that the IMF has.

With that said, we recognize that we're in territory here where we need to be able to respond, both on a bilateral basis and a multilateral basis, and so we need to be thinking constructively about all the international financial institutions to make sure they have the resources and the focus that we need them to have to respond to what we're seeing around the world.

Q So it will be part of the discussion then?

Q We learned that the incoming Obama administration will be sending representatives to the summit this weekend. Can either of you gentlemen elaborate on the level of their participation? Will they be simply observing? Will they be able to ask questions? Will they, even more importantly, be able to raise objections if they have any?

MR. PRICE: I can say this. I have been consulting very closely with the designated member of the Obama transition team on both the substance and process of the summit. We've had very, very detailed briefings, and we will continue to hold those briefings up to and through and after the summit.

Q And, again, I'd like to be clear -- so will they simply be sitting and listening? Can they ask a question? Is there any way you can explain to us what they'll be doing?

MR. PRICE: We have had no discussions with them concerning participation in the actual meeting. I believe -- Tony, correct me if I'm wrong -- I believe President-Elect Obama -- his team has made clear that the President-elect does not intend to participate. We have one President at a time, as he has said. That said, I can only say that I am consulting very closely with the designated person on the transition team and keeping that person fully apprised.

Q Are you concerned about avoiding any awkwardness, I guess, is what I'm wondering -- if they will just be watching, because if they were to ask questions or to raise objections, it could be awkward?

MR. PRICE: I think both the President-elect's transition team and this administration are committed to a very smooth transition, to keeping each other apprised, and that's exactly what we're doing.

Q You each mentioned a variety of areas of discussion, but what are the real benchmarks to come out of this weekend? What are you looking for to declare the summit a success? And also, how many more discussions do you expect to have on this level, if this the first of a series?

MR. PRICE: Why don't I take a first stab and then you can chime in. This will be the first time that the G20 has met at leader level. We expect a very thorough discussion, as I said, of causes, of actions -- near-term actions to be taken, longer-term actions to be considered -- and importantly, agreement on fundamental principles for reform.

So I would say we are expecting an important and vigorous discussion with some quite concrete results. But as I said, this is the first in a series. There will be further meetings not only to review the decisions that may be taken at this meeting, but also to follow up and receive recommendations on areas where further work has been tasked.

Q So those concrete results, should we be expecting some kind of initiative at the end of that? I mean, what exactly would that be?

MR. PRICE: I think, as Dave explained, there are a number of areas where important work could be done in the near term. We believe the leaders will want to come to some agreement on those areas of near-term work, put in some time frames, and then be in a position to see where we are on achieving those by the time of the next meeting.

Q Dan, is there any concern that at this initial meeting that if the goals are not met and there's a possibility of a negative impact on Wall Street and on the world markets, do you see that happening at all?

MR. PRICE: I wouldn't predict market reactions to anything. But that said, I think it should be of great comfort to the global community to see leaders from these countries around a table having a discussion about these critical issues affecting financial markets, as well as issues affecting global prosperity, and reaching a common understanding on steps to be taken and the path forward.

Q On fiscal stimulus, do you expect some sort of statement coming out of the summit that would be supportive of the need for fiscal stimulus? And if that is indeed the case, would that indicate that the administration is actually supportive of what President-elect Obama has called for, which is immediate fiscal stimulus?

And then, secondly, you didn't mention when you ran down the list the issue of limits on executive compensation at financial firms, which certainly the French President has said is an important issue for him.

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: I wouldn't want to pre-judge what would come out of the statement. I was making the point on the stimulus that just in the last week or two weeks, we've seen a lot of activity around stimulus. That's generally been very welcome in places like China, and I think it's probably a significant portion of how countries are thinking about near-term response. So it will be an important topic.

So what comes out of it in terms of how we say we talked about it or how we say the leaders talked about it I think remains to be seen. There will certainly be a discussion, I expect, because I think it's at the front of many minds, including Secretary Paulson and I think the President, about the incentive structures more broadly, that can contribute to excessive risk-taking, and how to have a discussion and a follow-up on that to ensure that firms have in place -- whether it's credit-rating agencies or financial services firms, whatever it might be -- incentive structures that ultimately guard against excessive risk-taking.

Q So do you think that would be one of the working groups that are set up?

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: I wouldn't want to pre-judge what comes out of it, but I expect it will be a point of conversation.

Q Sir, for better or for worse, the summit is looked on from the outside world as an event where the outside world is pushing for reform, really for meaningful reform, pushing for the U.S. to own up to the crisis, and the U.S. basically defending the status quo because the status quo favors the U.S. My question in this regard is, are you anticipating any moves on the part of the U.S. that would show the world that the U.S. is serious about this, that the U.S. is willing to compromise, willing to meet its partners somewhere halfway, something like that?

MR. PRICE: I guess I would say -- and then I'll invite Dave -- the characterization that you just let out -- that you just outlined is grossly inaccurate. The skepticism is, frankly, unfounded. The United States has been at the forefront of a number of reform efforts, which thus far have not received great political attention. These are measures that have been undertaken both through the Financial Stability Forum, through the Global Payments Committee, through various -- through the International Organization of Securities Regulators -- IOSCO -- that have frankly, received scant attention, which are now receiving, appropriately, receiving attention.

So I would say that the United States is committed to a financial markets reform agenda. I think you can see that domestically through Secretary Paulson's blueprint. I think you can see it internationally through the leadership of the United States in a number of international standard setting bodies, as well as international fora. So we are no less committed to fixing the problems, and addressing regulatory and other deficiencies than any other leader.

Q So what about the discussion that your side had with Chinese government? Tell us about the recent discussion. What are the priority issues that will be discussed between the two countries at this summit? And how are you convincing China to keep buying the U.S. Treasury bonds, for example, and even considering to permit Chinese companies to make further investment into U.S. companies? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: Well, we've had a number of discussions with China throughout the last 12 months, and I'd say those have only grown in frequency in the last three or four months. And I think we've had agreement from the very beginning that the United States, working its way through this challenge, and China continuing to grow and be prosperous is very much in our common interest.

When we talked with the Chinese, universally we hear a commitment to continuing to take steps that keeps the Chinese economy growing, and support for the actions that the United States has taken. And so, when you think about Chinese investment, we don't spend time in China saying, we think you should do this or that from an investment standpoint. What we do say is that we think we're taking steps to ensure that our economy continues to grow and be stable and to give investors confidence that we're going to maintain our openness.

And in the particular case of GSE debt, for example -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt -- the measures we've taken to give debt holders confidence in their investments. So it's been a constructive discussion, I suspect that will continue, and it has been I think one of the positive developments over the last year or so.

Q Is bailing out the auto industry protectionism?

MR. PRICE: As I said in response to the question that was earlier posed to me, what we've heard from a number of the leaders and their representatives is the importance of underscoring at this particular time a commitment to further trade and investment liberalization. I think several hours a ago you had a briefing -- Tony, was it -- from Dana Perino on this. I'm not here to brief on the auto industry. Thank you.

Q You were talking about fiscal stimulus, what about further coordinating monetary policy --

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: Well, as you know, the Federal Reserve is independent. The Federal Reserve has been in contact with central banks around the world and has at various points made decisions obviously independent of the Treasury, so I'll leave it at that.

Q Can you say on Doha will there be a substantive discussion on it, or is it just a commitment to get an agreement by the end of the year?o

And one clarification on the Obama transition team. Will there be a member physically present in the room?

MR. PRICE: We have had no discussions about the presence of members of the team in the room. Our discussions to date have been about substance.

With respect to Doha, as I said, I think what we've heard from both leaders and their representatives is their desire to provide at this meeting political impetus to resolving the outstanding issues that prevent agreement on modalities and to direct our ministers to seek to accomplish that objective.

Yes, ma'am.

Q Thank you. Could you speak to your expectations of Saudi Arabia in this upcoming meeting? And also, just a logistical question, is it just -- are there just going to be group sessions and talks, or are there going to be some break-off sessions where there is going to be some, I guess, communication between certain countries?

MR. PRICE: There are no -- to my knowledge, there are no separate group meetings. We have a working dinner Friday night. We have plenary meetings Saturday morning. And we have a working lunch on Saturday. And all leaders will be together in all of those events.

UNDER SECRETARY McCORMICK: Also on Saudi Arabia, we've also been in regular contact over the last six months with them. They're obviously an important part of the global economy and, as you know, are going to be representing the GCC countries at the table. And so we welcome their engagement and look forward to it.

Q It's my understanding as far as the President-elect's representatives, that those will be made available, but they wouldn't actually be there. Having said that, is there any concern that their presence just -- even in the city might be viewed by some foreign leaders as sort of a shadow summit that could hinder any progress you might make?

MR. PRICE: As I said, we've been working very closely and cooperatively and well with the transition team.

Yes, sir.

Q To both of you, what do you expect from the Turkish government to do since you invited Turkey and the Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is in town?

MR. PRICE: We are delighted that Turkey is participating. Turkey is a member of the G20. And we have invited all leaders of the G20. We expect the leader -- the Turkish leader, as well as all leaders, to contribute to discussion -- to the discussion and help us identify not only principles but particular actions that we might take in implementation of those principles.

Yes, sir.

Q Will this event solidify the G20 as the preeminent global economic leadership body? And does it spell the end of the G7 as a relevant organization?

MR. PRICE: Let me say that I think there was a general view that for this summit, for this topic, at this time, the leaders of the G20 were an appropriately representative group to begin this discussion. In my view -- and I think in the view of many -- the gathering of the leaders of the G20 does not foretell one way or the other the future of the G7, the G8, the G8 plus 5, or any other grouping.

Last question.

Q Over here, I just wanted -- the Chinese government question, I don't think I heard you answer that one, of what you're doing to make sure that they keep buying Treasury bonds. And secondly, you've also said that this is the first of many meetings. What sort of time frame do you expect for the next one?

MR. PRICE: Let me answer that one. I expect that -- I mean, it's for the leaders to decide, but I would expect that the leaders would express the view that they would like to get together sometime during the first quarter of 2009.

And I will give you an opportunity to ask a question, unless you want me to respond to GSE before we turn to you.

Q There's been reports that there's a difference in regulatory philosophy between the Europeans and the Americans and the Canadians. Do you see any difference? And could you just very briefly outline what the American approach will be towards -- you know, the American philosophical approach towards future regulation?

MR. PRICE: Well, I invite Dave to answer, as well, but as I tried to say, I think there is far more common ground among those around the table than would appear by reading some of the press accounts. Work has been going on in a number of these areas already. There are additional areas that we need to focus on. And, well, different leaders have different styles as to how they characterize the task ahead. When it comes down to the substance of what needs to be done, I believe that there is enormous common ground.

Q This is the President's last -- I'm sorry, this is the first of many summits. So this is probably the only one that President Bush will attend. Can you just characterize how he kind of wants to wrap things up as he goes out of office, and the condition in which he wants to put things, in terms of the global economic structure, on his way out the door?

MR. PRICE: Let me try to kind of summarize briefly what some of the, you know, objectives are.

Yes, this is the first in a series of meetings. I think that it is important to the President that at this meeting we identify not only common ground rules, common principles for reform, but identify some of the early actions that we need to take, as well as reaffirm, importantly, our commitments to market principles, to trade and investment liberalization, and to meeting our commitments to the developing world and ensuring that those most in need are not ignored by the global community.

So I would say it's really four parts. One, let us identify what needs to be done. Let us begin that task now. Let us continue that task through the future. And then, finally, let us do so against the backdrop of a commitment to open trade and investment and to meeting the needs of the least fortunate.

Thank you very much.

END 3:45 P.M. EST

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