WHEN: TODAY, FRIDAY, JANUARY 23RD
WHERE: CNBC'S "SQUAWK BOX"
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on CNBC's "Squawk Box" today from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Following is a link to a video clip of the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000348978.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
LEW ON BANK ASSAULT
I think that the tradeoff between the regulations being perhaps a bit more burdensome in some cases versus the fragility of our financial system and the financial crisis we had in 2007 and 2008, it's not a close call. We can't go back.
LEW ON U.S. GROWTH
I think we're at a moment when the US economy is doing much better than other economies. We have a strong growing economy, the projections for next year are good. The conversation I've heard around here is very optimistic. Other parts of the globe are not doing as well. That leads to some movement in currencies.
LEW ON A STRONG DOLLAR
A strong dollar, as all of my predecessors have joined me in saying, is a good thing, it's good for America. If it's the result of a strong economy, it's good for the US, it's good for the world. What we've also said is if there are policies that are unfair where there are interventions that are designed to gain unfair advantage that's a different story. We have been very clear in both multilateral and bilateral setting that that's not acceptable.
LEW ON THE SWISS AFTERMATH
When the dust settled, the global financial system was solid. We've seen things settle down in markets. We've seen a couple instances in the last few months where people said oh is this going to blow the pipes? And the pipes have held.
LEW ON REGULATIONS
I think that what has happened in the last few years is we've come out of a financial crisis that was caused by a failure on many levels, it was a failure at the business level and regulators did not catch it in time, they didn't see it. The financial reforms were designed to make sure that never happens again. To make sure we have the ability to see what's going on and the tools to make sure the system is safer.
LEW ON CORPORATE TAXES
The President has been clear for 3 years now that there is a path here where we can work together on a bipartisan basis to fix our broken tax code. It is something that I don't think you're going to find very many people to defend right now. This last year with the enormous attention on inversions, even people who didn't used to pay attention to businesses taxes say "do something to fix it."
LEW ON LOOPHOLES
No one can say this is going to be easy, it's never easy to take away loopholes. It just is never easy because whoever takes advantage of them will fight fiercely for them. But it's better for our economy, better for creating jobs for working Americans, better for being competitive in the world economy if we do this.
LEW ON THE SWAPS PUSHOUT PROVISION
I think it was a mistake to repeal the "Swaps Pushout" provision. But it did not repeal the core provisions of Dodd-Frank that give us the ability to see what's happening in the derivatives market and to make the system safe. It took away something that was of value, but it didn't take away everything we have by a long shot.
LEW ON THE SOTU
I think there are quite a number of things that the President spoke about in the State of the Union, that will be presented in more detail in our budget the week after next, which should be the basis for good bipartisan conversations. You've got to get started somewhere. We said the areas that there's most clearly the basis for working together right now, to get started, are trade and business tax reform.
LEW ON ANTONIO WEISS
I think the process was very unfair in terms of how he was treated by the Congress. I do think that the signal should be that we very much want people with the credentials and the background to add real value to serve. And I'm delighted that Antonio will be joining us on Monday.
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