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Crude production hikes are vital, Snow says

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Sunday that in order to ensure sustained global growth, it was critical that oil-producing nations agree to boost their production.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Sunday that in order to ensure sustained global growth, it was critical that oil-producing nations agree to boost their production.

“It is vital that oil producers provide adequate supplies to ensure that prices are at levels that foster strong global economic growth,” Snow said in remarks prepared for delivery at a press briefing after a Group of Seven finance officials’ meeting.

“Lower oil prices would contribute to our efforts to achieve strong and sustained growth,” Snow said, echoing a theme that the G7 rich nations struck in a closing communique at the conclusion of meetings that took place on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The U.S. Treasury chief said the world economy was strong, projected to grow at an annual rate exceeding 4-1/4 percent in 2003 and 2004.

“Achieving sustained growth remains a key driver of our discussions,” Snow said, referring to the periodic talks between finance ministers from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

With the Bush administration facing presidential elections in November, Snow claimed credit was due to policies instituted by President George W. Bush for some of the strong global growth.

He also said Congress could be more helpful in sustaining expansion by speeding up work on a national energy strategy to boost U.S. production -- a controversial proposal since it includes opening more Alaska lands for oil exploration in a move that environmentalists oppose.

“We urge the Congress to end the delays, and pass comprehensive energy legislation.