The Economy is Issue No. 1 for U.S.-Britain Talks Next Week

British Prime Minister Brown will meet with Obama to coordinate economic recovery strategy.

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will meet with President Obama next Tuesday in Washington and, Britain's ambassador to the United States said Friday morning, actions to foster economic recovery and financial stability will be a major focus of their first White House meeting. "The economy is going to be the No. 1 issue" for both, the ambassador, Nigel Sheinwald, predicted.

He said the two leaders would also discuss steps for "renewing the special relationship" traditionally maintained between London and Washington.

Sheinwald, a top foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair when Blair was prime minister, said that Brown and Obama are expected to discuss preparations for the summit of the Group of 20 countries in London in April, which will focus on continued steps to shore up global finances. "That meeting should give a message of confidence both to markets and the world community," Sheinwald said.

At next week's bilateral White House meeting, he said, the two leaders will take up the issue of increased resources for the International Monetary Fund to assist struggling developing-world economies and the need for "cleaning up and reforming the world financial system."

The latter goal has been a major priority for Brown, himself an expert on financial policy who early on urged assertive intervention in the financial markets. Sheinwald said that "another theme is greening the recovery"—a reference to economic steps that correlate well with efforts to reduce pollution that induces climate change and to use energy more efficiently. He said the financial crisis cannot be allowed to "divert us" from tackling climate change.

Sheinwald also emphasized the need "to send an unambiguous signal" that advanced economies would not succumb to protectionist measures amid the economic pain people are now feeling.

  • Read more about the economic stimulus efforts.