WTVG: G20: All Access – Obama says G20 focus is finance, not war

September 05, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG – It’s the first day of the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, where world leaders are gathering to try to settle on financial reforms.

While the possibility of US force in Syria is dominating the national news, the White House says the focus at the G20 is still very much about working to settle financial reforms.

Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro talked exclusively with the Undersecretary of the Treasury, Lael Brainard. She says the main US goal at the G-20 is to make sure the world economy grows in a strong and stable way.

“It’s about making sure the economy is strong and that the environment is good for our manufacturers, exporters, and that we’re creating jobs for the middle class here in America,” said Brainard.

When asked about some lawmakers voicing concerns about the Administration touting an economic recovery plan they don’t think is working well, Brainard responded, “I think you’ll find at the G20 that people believe the president, and the U.S. private sector in particular, have worked together to come back strong from the crisis.”

Brainard went on to say the U.S. is one of the strongest growing economies, but the country’s trading partners need to grow as well.

We asked Brainard if she thought the current political climate – from Edward Snowden’s leaks of surveillance programs to the threat of force in Syria – would take away from the important financial reforms the Administration is pushing for.

“The president elevated the G20 because it contains the most important economies in the world, and he’s going to want to focus on his jobs agenda and making sure we never again see a financial crisis of the kind we just got out of,” responded Brainard.

Brainard believes the U.S. can find common ground with other G20 members financial reform making sure the international tax system is fair.

She says she’s working on a trade agreement in Asia, calling the region’s economy one of the most dynamic in the world.

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