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Bush Administration Sees Progress After G-20 Meeting

The Bush administration says Saturday's G-20 meeting in Washington laid the foundation for a coordinated international effort to tackle the global financial crisis. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez says the summit of leaders of industrialized and developing economies did not produce any immediate, concrete action to shore up the financial system. Rather, he said, the meeting promoted consensus on how to formulate a way forward.

"I think the important thing is the leaders of G-20 coming together and agreeing on a longer-term agenda," said Carlos Gutierrez. "One meeting is not going to solve the whole global situation, but they did agree in principles. They agreed on future meetings. They agreed on a process. I think that is a very important step."

Gutierrez was speaking on CNN's Late Edition program.

The G-20 meeting yielded pledges to strengthen the ground rules under which financial markets operate. Participants also promised efforts to boost investor and consumer protection, and to stimulate economic growth.

Secretary Gutierrez said President Bush shares the view of other participants that some market oversight is needed to prevent excesses and abuses, but is adamant that the free market be preserved.

"We are here to strengthen our free-market capital system, not to change it," he said. "There is an inclination when you get into problems like this to go to an extreme, to over-regulate. I think we have to be careful. We have to find a balance, and we cannot over-regulate so that five years from now we are trying to claw our way back because we overdid it."

The G-20 meeting was held amid a continuing drumbeat of unsettling economic news around the world. Last week, Germany officially slipped into recession, while more Americans filed for unemployment benefits, and China's projections for economic growth were cut.