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US calls for ambitious G20 growth push

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew delivering remarks in Washington on February 3, 2014
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew delivering remarks in Washington on February 3, 2014

The United States called Tuesday on colleagues in the Group of 20 leading powers to boost growth to fight off short term economic risks, boost demand and generate jobs.

In a letter to fellow G-20 members obtained by AFP, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned of weak demand in Japan and Europe, and said the world was still facing "considerable volatility."

"While we are experiencing a global economic recovery, activity remains weak and global demand is deficient. As a result, our economies are producing too few jobs," Lew said.

"Our leaders' commitment to strong, sustainable and balanced growth requires restoring full employment and achieving a durable rebalancing of global demand."

The letter came ahead of the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Sydney beginning Saturday.

Lew said many of the current economic challenges and shortfalls are likely to persist if current policies remain unchanged.

The eurozone still appears vulnerable to very low inflation, and "key surplus countries" -- a likely pointer to Germany -- need stronger domestic demand.

In Japan, the outlook for strengthening domestic demand "has clouded", he said, calling for full implementation of promised reforms to shore up domestic consumption.

"The growth strategies that we will be developing must be ambitious in substance and address both deficiencies in near-term demand as well as longer-term economic challenges," Lew said.

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