Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insisted on Saturday that major economies were not easing up on their commitment to stiffen the rules for banks just because the global economy was recovering.
We all share a deep commitment to try to move forward and reach agreement on a strong, comprehensive set of financial reforms on the timetable we all committed to last September, he said at a closing press conference following a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs.
That means agreement on ... a new set of capital requirements for large global institutions by the end of this year, he added, playing down the possibility that the Obama administration might be headed in a different direction from other governments.
President Barack Obama has additional rules that would limit proprietary trading by banks, put them out of the hedge fund and private equity business and limit their future growth through a new market share cap.
Some G7 members, including Britain, have expressed reservations about the U.S. proposals and how they might work but Geithner played down any suggestion that differences were a hindrance for proceeding with reform.
We all have somewhat different systems and these common standards we put in place are going to have to be complemented by slightly different approaches at the national level, he said. But what you saw today was not a divergence in approach but a strong commitment together...to put reforms in place.
Geithner said a global recovery was in place and said the United States was coming out of deep recession more quickly and more strongly than other G7 countries.
At a separate briefing later, a senior U.S. Treasury official said the United States intends to be very tough on its financial institutions.
Washington wants to make sure that other countries apply equally stringent rules for capital and for behavior to prevent excessive risk-taking in future, he added.
The U.S. official said the G7 gathering, which strove for a more informal tone and didn't issue a communique, had been a useful forum that gave the opportunity for a substantial discussion on financial reform.
But a decision already has been taken for the larger Group of 20, which includes key emerging-market economies like China, Brazil and India, to become the major forum on international matters, he added.
In a mark of that shift, the U.S. official said there had been no specific discussion about China during the section of the G7 talks that dealt with currency markets.
Before the meeting, some participants had suggested that it would be a chance to express concern at what many see as an undervalued Chinese yuan.
Analysts contend Beijing's undervalued currency is helping it garner ever-rising supluses on trade with the rest of the world and makes the issue of how to resolve global imbalances an increasingly serious one that hangs over international financial gatherings like a dark cloud.
(Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)