Treasury Notes

 In Case You Missed It: Secretary Lew Participates in Moderated Conversation Ahead of the IMF-World Bank Annual Fall Meetings

By: Betsy Bourassa

Ahead of the 2014 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group, Secretary Lew participated in a moderated conversation with New York Times editorial writer Vikas Bajaj on the state of the global economy.  The Secretary, speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., addressed a spectrum of issues, including growing the global economy, infrastructure investment, business tax inversions, and sanctions.

Treasury Secretary Lew speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics
Treasury Secretary Lew speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. (Photo courtesy of Jeremey Tripp, Peterson Institute)

Treasury Secretary Lew discusses the state of the global economy with moderator and New York Times editorial writer Vikas Bajaj. (Photo courtesy of Jeremey Tripp, Peterson Institute)​

Key excerpts from Secretary Lew are below:

  • I don't think there's a secret as to why the U.S. economy is doing well.  Obviously, it starts with a very resilient people, a very resilient economy.  But it also started with policy.  We took definitive steps, beginning of 2008, to staunch a financial crisis…  We took very decisive steps to get demand growing again in this economy.  And we're now reaping the benefits of that.

  • We've made the case quite broadly that there's a need to do two things at once.  There's a need to focus on growing short-term demand while, at the same time, focusing on long-term structural reforms for long-term growth…  [The IMF] did a paper on infrastructure that makes a case quite compellingly that if you invest in the right things now, it leads to a stronger economy in the future.

  • If we could do business tax reform, we would take away some of the pressures that drive companies to invert…  That's why we've proposed statutory changes in the President's budget. It's why, as the cycle of inversions picked up, I've called on Congress to act on legislation, stand-alone legislation on inversions.  And when Congress didn't act, we were in the background, working on getting provisions together to do something administratively.  I certainly hope that the action we took administratively will slow the trend.

  • The economic sanctions that were put in place are probably the most sophisticated sanctions regime that has ever been designed.   It was quite deliberately set up to put maximum pressure on Russia with minimal risk of spill-over to the European and the U.S. economies.  I think we've succeeded in that… there is deep determination in our government, and I believe in the governments of many of the leading countries of the world to continue to send a strong signal to Russia that this is unacceptable behavior and it has to change.

A link to the video of the conversation is available here.

The IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors begin this Thursday, October 10.  For more information on the meetings see here.

Betsy Bourassa is a Media Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Posted in:  International Affairs
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