Summers Upbeat On U.S. Economy; Urges WTO Reforms

LONDON: U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers repeated on Dec. 15 his confidence that the U.S. economic expansion will continue. He said policy-makers will continue to focus primarily on economic fundamentals rather than financial markets. "I think the fundamentals of the American economy are strong. I believe the momentum of our expansion should continue for some time. I don't see the end of this expansion as in sight," Summers said on British Broadcasting Corp. radio. His upbeat prognosis was accompanied by the traditional warning against complacency. He also said advances made in information technology had made an important contribution to strengthening the U.S. economy in many ways, first and foremost by increasing competition. Summers also urged reforms of the International Monetary Fund to focus it more closely on preventing and solving financial crises. This means scaling back long-term lending, increasing loan charges, and making greater demands in the name of transparency. Summers was in London for talks with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.

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