Bush praises world leaders for rejecting protectionism

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Washington, Nov 15 (UNI) US President George Bush today praised the world leaders for reaffirming the importance of open markets and free trade, rejecting protectionism.

''I am pleased that the leaders reaffirmed the principles behind open markets and free trade,'' Mr Bush said as he headed into a Summit on the global financial crisis. ''One of the dangers during such a crisis is that people will start implementing protectionist policies,'' he added.

Speaking before the inauguration of the G-20 Summit here, he noted that progress had been made during informal talks at last night's White House dinner but ''there's still a lot of more work (remains) to be done''.

Leaders from the world's major industrial nations and emerging economies, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended the Summit, aimed at crafting a global solution to the financial down-turn.

Reports suggested disagreement among the Summiteers on how best to stabilise the financial system, including the need for greater oversight or increased regulation of financial institutions.

European leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, favoured tighter regulations. Mr Bush said too much regulation might threatened the free market system.

Later in his weekly radio address, the US President said, ''by working together, I'm confident that with time, we can overcome this crisis and return our economies to the path of growth and vitality.'' Mr Bush, however, insisted that ''the crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system. It is to fix the problems we face, make the reforms we need, and move forward with the free market principles that have delivered prosperity and hope to people around the world.

''We also need to make broader reforms to adapt our financial systems to the 21st century. So during this Summit, I will work with other leaders to establish principles for reform, such as making markets more transparent and ensuring that markets, firms, and financial products are properly regulated,'' he said.

The US President said all those steps would require decisive actions from governments around the world. ''At the same time, we must recognise that government intervention is not a cure-all.

While reforms in the financial sector are essential, the long-term solution to today's problems is sustained economic growth. And the surest path to that growth is free markets and free people,'' he added.

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