Barack Obama

Obama says world must pursue balanced economic growth

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday that the world must pursue balanced and sustainable economic growth and avoid a return to the cycles of boom and bust that led to the global financial crisis.

Obama said in a major speech in Tokyo that the global recession had shown the limits of depending heavily on American consumers and Asian exports to drive growth.

The United States could export more to Asia and create more jobs at home in the process, Obama said, a theme he said he planned to pursue at an Asia-Pacific leaders summit in Singapore, his next stop on his Asian tour.

“Now that we are on the brink of economic recovery, we must also ensure that it can be sustained,” he said in the speech.

“We simply cannot return to the same cycles of boom and bust that led us into a global recession. We cannot follow the same policies that led to such imbalanced growth.

“One of the important lessons this recession has taught us is the limits of depending primarily on American consumers and Asian exports to drive growth.”

Excessive consumption and borrowing in the United States and aggressive export policies, high savings and lending from Asia helped fuel a global economic bubble which burst last year.

Obama also welcomed the greater role of the G20 in helping shape international economic cooperation, saying this demonstrated the “broader and more inclusive engagement that America seeks in the 21st century.”

Despite growing signs of economic recovery, U.S. unemployment is stubbornly high. The U.S. jobless rate jumped to a 26- year high of 10.2 percent in October, adding to pressure on the Obama administration to do more to tackle unemployment even as signs of recovery mount.

Tokyo is the first stop in Obama’s nine-day Asian tour, which also takes him to China for talks likely to feature climate change and trade imbalances, and to South Korea, where North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will be in focus.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Caren Bohan; Writing by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Rodney Joyce