George W. Bush photo

Remarks at a State Dinner With Financial Markets and World Economy Summit Participants

November 14, 2008

Your Excellencies, welcome to the United States. Welcome to the White House. And welcome to the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy.

I do want to begin my remarks by extending our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to Prime Minister Balkenende. He landed today and called me on the phone to inform me that his father had passed away. He returned back to his country to be with his family, and we wish them all the very best.

In the State Dining Room tonight are representatives of major industrialized economies, some of the largest developing economies, and key international financial institutions. We are here because we share a concern about the impact of the global financial crisis on the people of our nations. We share a determination to fix the problems that led to this turmoil. We share a conviction that by working together, we can restore the global economy to the path of long-term prosperity.

When we sit down at the summit table tomorrow, we bring clear priorities. Tomorrow's discussion will be the first in a series of meetings. We will focus on key, five objectives: understanding the causes of the global crisis, reviewing the effectiveness of our responses thus far, identifying principles for reforming our financial and regulatory systems, launching a specific action plan to implement those principles, and reaffirming our conviction that free market principles offer the surest path to lasting prosperity.

As we pursue these objectives, we can build on what we have achieved together so far. Since the outbreak of the crisis, the world's leading nations have coordinated our actions more closely than ever before. Thanks in large part to these decisive measures, global credit markets are beginning to thaw. Businesses around the world are regaining access to essential short-term financing, and stability is beginning to return to the international financial system. This problem did not develop overnight, and it will not be solved overnight. But with continued cooperation and determination, it will be solved.

There is more work to do beyond the immediate crisis, and the stakes are indeed high. Billions of hard-working people are counting on us to strengthen our financial systems for the long term. Families need credit to buy homes and to fund education. Businesses need capital to expand their operations so they can hire new employees. Older workers are counting on pensions and retirement funds to support them in their retirement years. Developing nations need the assistance they have been promised, as well as additional foreign investment, to continue their journey from poverty to promise. All over the world, people understand that their livelihoods depend upon a healthy and growing global economy.

The surest path to that growth is to continue policies of free and open markets. Free market capitalism has been an engine of prosperity, progress, and social mobility in economies all over the globe. Trade and investment have been—have linked our economies together, creating new customers for businesses and workers and greater choices and lower prices for consumers. All our nations must reject calls for protectionism, collectivism, and defeatism in the face of our current challenge.

I thank you all for coming and for your commitment to this urgent work. And with confidence in the success of our efforts, I offer a toast to all of you, to the principles we share, and to the people we serve.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:29 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a State Dinner With Financial Markets and World Economy Summit Participants Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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