CHENGDU, China – US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew issued the following statement at the G-20 in Chengdu, China:
I would like to begin by first thanking our Chinese colleagues and the city of Chengdu for their gracious hospitality in hosting these important meetings.
During the last two days I underscored the fact that the United States remains a source of strength within the global economy, with real GDP more than 10 percent higher than its pre-recession peak. Solid growth in consumer spending during the second quarter combined with a strong labor market report in June suggests that the U.S. job market remains healthy.
There was considerable discussion of the outlook for the global economy, particularly in the wake of last month’s referendum in the United Kingdom. There was a broad agreement that financial markets remained orderly and that financial reform had added important resiliency to financial institutions. Overall, the general sense was that the outlook remains uncertain, with a continued shortfall in aggregate demand. At the meeting of the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Shanghai five months ago, we committed to use all policy levers – monetary, fiscal and structural reforms – in an effort to boost global growth. And importantly, this weekend we pledged to reinforce that commitment while also emphasizing that the benefits of growth need to be shared more broadly within countries to promote an inclusive and shared prosperity.
We also reaffirmed our solidarity and resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and wherever it occurs and strengthening our efforts to prevent the financing of terrorism. And we continue to make progress on climate finance strategies that would advance implementation of the Paris Agreement, and we encouraged all parties to bring the Agreement into force as soon as possible.
Notably, there is now broad consensus that what the global economy needs is growth – not austerity – and the discussions here have focused on how best to achieve that outcome, with an emphasis on the need to individually and collectively employ all three policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
We also reiterated the important commitments that were reached in February to consult closely on exchange rate policy and refrain from competitive devaluation. During this period of modest global growth amid downside risks, it is particularly important that there is no perception that major economies are boosting their growth at the expense of others.
Excess capacity in steel and other industries has distorted important global markets, and we collectively decided to enhance communication and cooperation in this area and take effective steps to address this challenge. This is an important step forward as we seek global approaches to confront the issue of excess capacity, a result of structural misallocation of resources that also negatively affect trade and workers worldwide.
We recognized that the issue of refugees is having a significant impact on countries across all regions and income levels. We support efforts by international organizations, such as the World Bank, to develop effective responses to help to support refugees and their host communities. In this area, I particularly look forward to further work to finalize a Global Crisis Response Platform by the World Bank.
And finally, in the wake of the referendum in the United Kingdom, I discussed with my counterparts in Europe and the UK the need for negotiations to take place in a smooth, pragmatic, and transparent manner, and that a highly integrated relationship between the UK and the EU is in the best interests of Europe, the United States, and the global economy.
Again, let me thank our Chinese hosts, and say we look forward to returning to China in September for a successful Leaders Summit in Hangzhou. With that, I’m happy to take a few questions.