The following is an excerpted transcript of ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson's interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the G-20 economic summit on the Obama administration's plans for the global financial crisis, international cooperation and the auto industry, for "World News With Charles Gibson" in London, April 1, 2009.
CHARLES GIBSON: Mr. Secretary, the president said today let's not get too hung up on the differences between nations at this conference, but aren't there very real differences on the critical issue, which is the willingness to commit to stimulus spending?
TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER: Well, Charlie, I think if you look at what's already happened, there is a huge amount of fiscal stimulus already in the pipeline committed by countries not just in the United States or in Europe, but you saw what Japan announced just yesterday, China, India, developing countries around the world. So you just look at what countries have done. There is very, very broad support already for the kind of program the president came here with, which is to bring growth back as quickly as possible and make sure we have open markets, expanding trade, which are so important to American business.
GIBSON: But when you look at what the Germans are spending, the French are spending, the Italians are spending, when the president of the EU says the U.S. spending package is the road to hell, that speaks to some real differences, doesn't it?
GEITHNER: I think if you look at what countries are doing, there's a lot in common with the basic program the president began with. Look at what they're actually doing. You see central banks around the world moving very, very aggressively to make sure interest rates are low. You see governments moving to put a – the strongest program support for growth and private investment you've seen since the Second World War. Countries are moving aggressively to make sure they're fixing their financial systems, bringing credit back, they're committing to make sure that they're avoiding protectionist measures and getting markets open again, expanding again. Those markets are critically important for American business and there's very, very strong support on the need to put in place tougher, smarter, stronger, 21st-century rules of the game for the financial system. Because all our financial systems were overwhelmed by these global capital flows and we need to make sure that we have, you know, much more aggressive, stronger, comprehensive oversight in place if we're going to avoid a crisis like this again.
GIBSON: Well, but the communiques, the draft agreement that we've seen at this meeting, talks about those things in general terms. In terms of stimulus spending, without a number, willingness to spend 2 percent, maybe even 3 percent of GDP, isn't that really basically just a piece of paper?