Treasury's Lew: UK vote to leave is not the making of another financial crisis

Jack Lew on the Brexit's biggest headwinds

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told CNBC on Monday the global market turmoil from Britain's vote to leave the European Union doesn't look like the makings of another financial crisis.

The challenge for world leaders is to provide stability and promote growth, Lew said on "Squawk Box," though he acknowledged that a British exit would be another economic headwind globally and for the United States.

All things considered, Lew said the U.S. economy has been doing "pretty well." He also expressed confidence that governments in the U.K., Europe, and the United States will be able to manage through the difficulties caused by a Brexit.

Market fallout on Brexit so far 'orderly'

While the impact in financial markets from the Brexit vote has been sharp, it's so far been orderly, Lew said. He said a U.K. vote to remain in the EU would have been best for global economies and geopolitical stability.

The currency markets are facing a "particularly volatile moment" because of imbalanced economic growth around the world, Lew said, stressing he's watching exchange rates very closely. "Unilateral action to intervene would be destabilizing," he added.

Lew reiterated he believes a stronger dollar reflects a stronger U.S. economy, and greenback strength is in the interest of the U.S.

European banks 'better equipped' than in 2008

Jack Lew: Global anxieties abound

Despite the fallout in bank stocks, which have hit British concerns particularly hard on worries about disruptions in investments, Lew said European banks are "better equipped" to deal with a Brexit than they would have been in 2008.

In prepared remarks for his Monday address of the annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Committee, Lew said: "We respect the decision of the voters in the U.K. and will work closely with London, Brussels and our international partners to ensure continued economic stability, security and prosperity in Europe and globally." The Bretton Woods Committee consists of top leaders in business, finance, academia and nonprofit organizations.

"As we move forward, it is important to stress that U.K., European and global policymakers have the tools necessary to support not just financial stability — but also to promote economic growth," Lew said in his speech.

In the wake of the unexpected U.K. vote, the U.S. is reminded again of the importance of its leadership in the global economy, he said.

"Sustaining that leadership, and adapting it to the challenges of our time, remain indispensable to the well-being of American workers and families, as well as to the ability of the United States to project its values and achieve its larger foreign policy objectives," he said.

Brexit complicates US-EU trade talks

In CNBC's Monday interview, Lew said U.S. workers stand to benefit from free trade agreements — at time when two major deals covering European and Asian nations face uncertainty and backlash around the world and in the U.S. against globalization.

Britain's looming European Union exit further complicates talks between the United States and the EU over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership free trade deal.

"We have been negotiating a trade agreement with Europe for a number of years now. That negotiation is ongoing and will continue," Lew said. "Any negotiation with the U.K. will take a course that is, in part, determined by happens between the U.K. and the EU."

"The U.S. and the U.K. have a special, deep relationship that will continue," he added.

Lew made a pitch for a separate, signed free trade deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 nations including Japan, Singapore, and Australia. The TPP has been knocked by Republicans and Democrats on the presidential campaign trail.

"I think TPP is profoundly in the interest of American workers and the U.S. economy. It would promote a level playing field," he said. "I think it would be a big mistake [now] to step away from the world."