Greece, pressing for curbs on financial speculation it blames for worsening the country's debt crisis, said on Tuesday the idea would be examined by the G20 leading powers at their next meeting.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told reporters after a meeting with President Barack Obama that the U.S. leader had been encouraging on Athens' effort to restrict speculators but stopped short of saying Washington would embrace this push.
We have found a positive response from President Obama, which means that this issue will be on the agenda in the next G20 meeting, Papandreou said after the White House meeting.
We ourselves were in the last few months the victims of speculators. Obama assured me that he considers the initiative useful, important, positive and that the United States will contribute in this direction, he added.
Canada hosts the next summit of the Group of 20 in June, although G20 finance ministers will also be present in Washington for the Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
An Obama administration official had earlier offered a measured response to Greece's proposals, noting the United States was already working on a broad overhaul of U.S. financial regulation.
The president's plan would require more transparent trading and central clearing for standardized derivatives, the official said.
The central task before the Greek government is to continue to move forward on their plans to restore fiscal stability and growth to its economy, the official said.
The Greeks, forced to slash spending after discovering the country's budget deficit had been understated by half by the previous government, want to ban activities such as short selling by investors of securities they do not own. Athens says this inflates debt costs for countries struggling to cut deficits.
Greece is doing what it should be doing to clean up its own mess, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told CNBC television. However, there's a broader problem here. It's a European problem, it has to do with the euro, and it has to do with speculation.
The meeting with Obama is part of a concentrated series of appearances aimed at shoring up confidence in Greece's ability to get through its budget crisis.
Papandreou visited Germany and France before traveling to Washington for a four-day visit that ends on Thursday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday there were positive signs that Greece was making progress, including its recent successful government bond issue.
In my assessment, Greece does not need any financial support, Merkel told journalists in Luxembourg. Greece has won some trust back through the steps taken by its government.
(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Caren Bohan and Jeff Mason in Washington and by John O'Donnell and Michele Sinner in Luxembourg; Writing by Glenn Somerville and Alister Bull; Editing by Padraic Cassidy and James Dalgleish)