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Former UK PM Brown Calls for US Leadership

Thursday, 20 Oct 2011 | 11:06 AM ET

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on the United States to show leadership on the global economic recovery at the next G20 Summit to be held in Nice, France next month.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown
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Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Brown, who took a leading role in averting a financial crisis in the UK at the end of 2008, told CNBC America needed to regain its confidence on the world stage and remember that it was still the country the rest of the world looked to for leadership.

“America should be more confident about its position. Now of course people are going to say ‘well America has a high deficit or people will say I have just condemned China as a currency manipulator how can you talk about cooperation and building better relationships.’ But America should be confident that just as the Marshall Plan came out of America in the 1940s, a plan to get the world back to sustained growth could come from out of American leadership now,” he said.

Brown urged the US administration to go to the G20 with a commitment to work with other countries, particularly China, and worry less about issues such as currency values.

“I sometimes think the United States forgets that it is the undisputed economic leader of the world and there can be doubt about what is going to be happening ten years from now or what is happening even now over debt," he said.

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"But people look to America for leadership. It’s got the best technology, it has got the genius of its scientific discoveries, it’s got some of the great companies and industries, it's well ahead in the internet market and America should be leading and saying: ‘look, the world economy will only grow if we can get an agreement between the different continents about how they will work together to achieve that growth.'”

The former prime minister added there had almost been such an agreement in 2009 but it “fell apart because of disagreements on currencies between China and America.”

“I would say forget about the currency for the time being because that will be a consequence - its rise will be a consequence of other measures - and concentrate on getting China to do what China says it wants to do, which is consume more and therefore buy more imports," Brown said.

"Get Asia to do the same and at the same time offer that America will investment in infrastructure so that it to can contribute to world growth,” he added.

Brown said the EU Summit on Sunday was a critical moment for Europe’s leaders, who he said had so far failed to come up with a strategy for growth in the euro zone.

“As long as Europe does not have a strategy for growth, then the assets of the banks will be worth less, property prices and market prices will continue to go down and therefore unless Europe comes back to growth there are a whole series of other consequences,” he said.

“That’s why on Sunday unless its going to be called Black Sunday, which some people are already calling it, the European Union has got to come back with a set of proposals that mean you could reignite growth European area,” Brown said.

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