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Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 7, 2007

Press Briefing by Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, David McCormick
Via Teleconference

6:50 P.M. (Local)

MR. JOHNDROE: All right, thank you for joining us this afternoon. David McCormick, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, and the G8 Sherpa for the United States. This is an on-the-record briefing.

Over to Dave.

MR. McCORMICK: Thanks, Gordon. I wanted to just maybe give you a brief overview of today's activities, and then open it up for any questions you might have. There were three main working sessions today. The first session was focused on the global economy, broadly defined -- hello?


MR. McCORMICK: Okay, sorry about that. Today, had three main working sessions. The first session was focused on the global economy, broadly defined. And that session began with a discussion of a global economy. Many of the leaders went through some of their specific economic outlooks, a very positive discussion. I think consensus view was that the economy is -- the global economy is strong, and many of the individual economies of those in the room are quite strong.

There was also a discussion about the importance of transparency within those economies, and the importance of anti-corrupt efforts. And then a very positive discussion around the importance of an open investment environment, and that led to what was a very interesting discussion about protectionism and isolationism, and I think the consensus among the leaders, how important it is to fight the forces of protectionism and isolationism that we might see within our respective economies as each country and each leader works through the challenges of globalization.

Certainly, a consensus view that globalization brought many opportunities to the global economy and to our individual countries, but also recognition of the need to make that case on a consistent basis and fight back on the forces of protectionism.

There was also in this session a very significant discussion, a very constructive discussion around climate. I'm going to come back and finish on that point, and give you a little more detail on that.

The second session -- and actually the third session, contrary to the schedule, were to go to foreign policy. In the first session, there was actually a consensus reached on the climate text and a plan for very exciting -- and that led to a very focused discussion in the lunch on Iran and North Korea, and counter proliferation and the challenges that that poses for the G8 more generally.

In the third session of the day, which was originally planned to be a climate session, the focus continued on the foreign policy agenda. And there was a very, very candid and constructive discussion around Kosovo, a very good discussion around Afghanistan, and also a broader discussion about the war on terror, the forces of extremism, and the need for the global leaders -- for the G8 to remain vigilant, in terms of fighting back against the forces of radicalism.

To go back to that first session and the climate discussion, there had obviously been a lot of work done in the climate area in the weeks leading up to the summit. And I think the overarching theme here was that there are many, many areas of agreement and commonality, and I think for the first time an agreement on an approach and process for moving forward in developing a global approach to dealing with the greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Chancellor Merkel and the German leadership, in general, is absolutely to be complimented for really running a terrific G8 process that has resulted in the development and the conclusion of an agreement on a process for working towards a post-2012 agreement that focuses not only on climate change, but also on energy security and economic growth and development, and the recognition that those three priorities go hand in hand. And we look forward to working with our G8 colleagues, and also the U.N. and others, to bring U.S. leadership and participation to this effort.

If you go specifically to the climate part of the text, the climate energy security, energy efficiency part of the text, I think you'll see an enormous amount of agreement and consensus around a number of key principles. Again, the importance of climate being thought of within the context of energy security and development; the focus on technology -- an enormous focus on technology and the technology being a key driver of dealing with these common challenges and opportunities together. There was an absolute consensus, building on the President's speech last week, on the crucial importance of bringing the major emitting economies into a discussion, an agreement on the path ahead. And so that was a highlighted part of the agreement and text, with a specific outline of how that process with major emitters would move forward, and the role that the G8 would play and the United States would play, from a leadership standpoint, in pushing that dialogue forward to an appropriate and successful end.

There was agreement on the collaboration with the private sector, and really develop those technologies, not only develop them but deploy them around the world to bring the benefits of the technology to those emerging economies.

If you go again specifically through the text, there was a lot of emphasis on how this process fits within the context of the United Nations, and in particular the UNFCCC. There was a commitment to bring together and agree upon this global framework among major emitters by the end of 2008, and a very specific commitment to trying to accomplish that. And there was also a commitment to using that framework as a basis for a broader agreement by the end of 2009, in terms of an approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Again, a focus on investment in R&D, energy efficiency, power generation, an important set of discussions and topics around helping the developing world with deforestation and adaptation and a variety of things that are of enormous importance to those countries as we work together on global climate change.

So I think as you look through this text, you're going to find an enormous step forward, in terms of our understanding and our agreement on a path ahead.

Let me turn for a minute to tomorrow's schedule, and then I'll open it up for questions. Tomorrow there are two primary outreach sessions. There's an outreach session in the morning that includes the G8 and a number of key African countries. The focus of that will be primarily on growth and responsibility in Africa, and the role that the G8 and the African countries can play together, in terms of addressing some of the key challenges that Africa faces, in terms of diseases and basic education. I'm particularly excited and I know the President is excited about this discussion. This is an area where I think we have already found an enormous amount of agreement, and the President's leadership in this area, with his announcement on PEPFAR and his long-term success in addressing HIV/AIDS and malaria, really an important starting point for this discussion.

There's a second session, which will include the G8 and the Outreach 5 countries. This includes China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. And this discussion will be focused on the global economy more generally, and how these dynamic, emerging economies and the more developed economies can work together to address major global problems, such as climate change, such as innovation, such as corruption, and such as intellectual property and innovation, and the need for a process of collaboration and focus between the developed economies and those emerging economies to really address those problems and challenges effectively.

The President also has a bilateral session tomorrow with President Sarkozy, the new President of France, which I know he's looking forward to. And this session will conclude with a final lunch before the President departs for Poland.

Why don't I stop there and open it up for any questions you might have.

Q Thanks. I wanted to see if you could expand upon the North Korea-Iran portion. Is there -- can you go into any detail on that?

MR. McCORMICK: Well, I probably won't provide a whole lot of detail other than to say there was, I think, a consensus view around both topics of the importance of the G8, working collaboratively with the United Nations, and working with those countries on a constructive dialogue to address very real concerns around proliferation, and try to do that in a way that is very firm and unyielding from the standpoint of the G8. This was one of -- both of those topics were areas where there was an enormous amount of consensus and commitment to addressing these problems, and they were viewed as significant challenges for not only those individual countries, but the G8, collectively.

Q Hey, Dave. Question, you talked about globalization and the need to fight protectionism, but the document today doesn't really talk about Doha. Does that mean you've thrown in the towel on that, or is it something that's going to be addressed tomorrow?

MR. McCORMICK: That's a great question. There is a very -- there's a whole part of a session this evening focused exclusively on Doha, and I'm quite certain there will be a statement about Doha that will come out of that discussion. And Doha was mentioned in the earlier sessions. I think it's actually a topic that this group of leaders, the G8, and then the emerging economies, the O5, are very anxious to talk about. We're at a critical time with Doha, and I know the President is anxious to reaffirm his commitment to Doha, and also reinforce the importance of Doha to the developing world.

If you think about the focus of the G8 being, at least in large part, on the development agenda, and bringing growth and hope to Africa and other parts of the developing world, trade and a successful completion to the Doha round are absolutely the most critical step we might take to really make progress in that area.

Q Yes, hi, we had -- we've been hearing in the lead-up to this that the United States is not looking to make any specific goals for greenhouse gas reductions at this G8. And now the U.S. has signed on to this compromise to reduce gases by 50 percent by 2020. Was there any kind of change in the thinking going into this? Was this a compromise from the White House? And, also, is that 50 percent from today's levels or from 1990 levels?

MR. McCORMICK: Yes, the President had been very clear when he gave a speech last week that a first step towards really addressing the challenge of climate change and energy security and economic growth from a global standpoint really depended on bringing the major emitters together into a process where they could be equal participants sitting at the table, thinking about how to address this challenge collectively. And today's agreement actually reinforces the G8 commitment to that concept, and lays out in fairly specific terms what that process will include, in terms of a set of long-term aspirational global goals, national goals that would be developed based on national circumstances, and a real focus on developing and transferring technology to the developing world.

He absolutely -- the President absolutely supports the development of a global goal that will be a critical component of this global framework by the end of 2008. The specific text says that. It says that in setting a global goal for emissions reductions involving the major emitters, that that group will consider very seriously the decisions already made by the European Union, Canada, Japan and others as an important basis for thinking through what a global goal should be among major emitters. And those specific decisions that those three have made in the last 90 days or so have some similarities, but they also have some real differences, in terms of the baseline and the time frame, and whether they're national goals or global goals.

And so they're important inputs into the process, and the President is very committed to trying to bring the major emitters together in a way that we really have them as equal participants at the table, and agree on that global goal together. He thinks that is an absolutely critical component of finding a global consensus among the countries that really are accounting for the large majority of greenhouse gas emissions.

Q Thank you, Mr. McCormick. I just have a quick question. Secretary Nicholas Burns had said that if Tehran did not move to suspend enrichment by Heiligendamm that it would be time to increase sanctions. Is that still something that President Bush is discussing at the summit?

And my second question is, was there any discussion today on addressing global imbalances, or is this something that will wait until the Outreach 5 session, given the importance that the Outreach 5 plays in these talks?

MR. McCORMICK: On the first point, certainly the sanctions regime related to Iran was a topic of discussion. I probably won't get into any more detail about the specific content of that discussion, but as I said, a large part of the lunch discussion was focused on Iran and North Korea as being not challenges for the United States or challenges for Japan or any single country, but challenges for the global leaders, challenges for the G8. And I think what was most notable about that discussion was the unanimity and consensus among the people in the room.

In terms of global imbalances, that was a topic of discussion. One of the things that was actually noted within that context was the U.S. economy, and the fact that the U.S. deficit has been decreasing at a far more dramatic rate, based on recent tax cuts and growth in the economy that the President highlighted. And we certainly will -- I suspect the leaders will have that discussion again tomorrow on the broader global and balances question.

MS. PERINO: Okay, thanks for calling, everybody..

END 7:08 P.M. (Local)