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14 Nov, 2008 03:47

Bush defends free markets ahead of G20

Despite some evidence to the contrary, US President George W. Bush insists the global financial crisis ‘was not a failure of the free market’. His defence of Western-style capitalism came just hours before world leaders were expected in Washington for a c

Bush also called on the G20 leaders to agree on a modest set of reforms aimed at preventing future financial collapses.

“The answer is not to try to re-invent that system,” Bush said. “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 all across the globe.”

“I'm a market-oriented guy, but not when I'm faced with the prospect of a global meltdown,” Bush added.

Besides the United States, the countries represented will be Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey. Those countries and the European Union make up the so-called G20.

Reforms will not help if they abandon the free market and restrict trade – that was Bush's main message to the G20 leaders.

Bush will host the leaders at a White House dinner on Friday. On Saturday they will review the causes of the financial mess and begin formulating solutions.

The summit this weekend is just the first in a series intended to deal with the enormity of the economic meltdown, and the next meeting will not be held until after Bush leaves office on January 20.

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G20 meeting looks for overhaul of global financial architecture