Global cooperation needed over turmoil: Treasury

WASHINGTON Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:31pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior U.S. Treasury official called for a swift international response to global financial turmoil, which he said should be followed by an overhaul of the rules to stop it from happening again.

"Now is the time to act quickly, act decisively, and collaboratively with regulators and market participants around the world to restore stability and confidence to our markets," Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David McCormick said in prepared remarks.

His speech, to the CLSA Hong Kong Investors' Forum, was made available in advance to media in Washington for release on Wednesday evening.

The U.S. government has proposed a $700 billion bailout to purchase illiquid mortgage debt from U.S.-based banks and other financial firms that have choked the financial system and threaten to hit growth hard. The government is discussing details of the package with U.S. lawmakers to overcome concerns that taxpayers are suffering for the mistakes of Wall Street.

"It will no doubt take time to work through the excesses that were built up over a number of years," McCormick said. "U.S. policy-makers are implementing policies that address our short-term economic challenges and rebuild faith in the market.

"When we emerge from this difficult period, our next task will be to strengthen the financial regulatory structure to forestall such excesses in the future," he said.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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