G-7 Ministers Endorse U.S. Stimulus Plan President Obama's new Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner made his first appearance on the world stage Saturday at the meeting of G-7 finance ministers in Rome. Geithner urged the seven major industrialized countries to take bold measures to pull the global economy out of recession, support financial institutions and improve financial regulation.

G-7 Ministers Endorse U.S. Stimulus Plan

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Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner took to the international stage today, meeting with finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrial countries in Rome. Geithner and the other G-7 ministers from Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and Canada endorsed economic stimulus and vowed to combat a resurgence of protectionism. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: The U.S. plan to tackle the recession and the banking crisis got a better reception abroad than at home. The G-7 joint statement unanimously endorsed the Obama administration plan. In the lead up to the Rome meeting, several European countries had expressed concern over the specter of protectionism, in particular the buy-American clause in the U.S. stimulus package. Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner was quick to reassure the other members of the club.


TIMOTHY GEITHNER: The president reacted to those concerns - those provisions very quickly. And the provisions that came out of the Congress must be implemented in a way consistent with our international obligations. The president he cites(ph), is deeply committed to sustaining an important commitment to maintaining open trade and investment policies. And I heard countries around the table today as you've heard it public around the world, similar commitments by their governments. I just want to emphasize how important that is to confidence at this critical moment.

POGGIOLI: In response to a question whether the United States would agree to strict regulations for hedge funds and derivatives, Secretary Geithner said the U.S. is studying a comprehensive reform of the financial system including a stronger oversight of banks and other institutions critical to market stability.


GEITHNER: That's not going to be sufficient. We're also going to have to bring much more effective enforcement. And we're all going to need stronger powers to deal with financial crises, help manage the resolution of financial crises.

POGGIOLI: The G-7 summit did not produce major new initiatives, and many analysts say it's been overshadowed by the new G-20 that includes China and India and that meets in April. But this was an important get-to-know-each-other with the new American Treasury secretary. After years of American unilateralism, the other members were certainly relieved by Geithner's promise of a more multi-lateral approach from Washington.


GEITHNER: They said we very much want to work alongside the rest of the world because what we do will not be fully effective unless the world, as a whole, is moving together to address what are very common challenges.

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

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