G7 ministers focus on stabilizing world economy

World Bank President Robert Zoellick listens Friday at a meeting of the Council for Italy and the U.S. in Rome.
Finance ministers from the world’s leading industrialized nations were holding their second and last day of meetings in Rome on Saturday with an agenda squarely focused on the world financial crisis.

Italy is hosting the meeting of the Group of Seven in its role as G7 president for 2009. G7 members are the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain, and Canada. The agenda drawn up by Rome calls for adopting global measures and economic policy reforms capable of stabilizing the world economy and ensuring transparency to allow markets to function correctly, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. Italy will also call on countries to to avoid resorting to protectionist measures to placate domestic demands, ANSA reported. New U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is making his international debut in Rome. His visit comes just after the U.S. Senate gave final approval to a $787 billion recovery package to boost the U.S. economy. Another attendee, International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said this week that he supports such stimulus packages for advanced countries. “The question is no more to convince the governments to move today, but for them to implement the policies they need to manage,” Strauss-Kahn said.

He also warned of the dangers of protectionism, which he said may still come “through the back door, especially in the financial sector.” Other G7 attendees include Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and central bank governors.