G20 Leaders Talk Trade in Seoul, South Korea

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In South Korea, it's the two-day summit of the G20--that's the "Group of Twenty" national leaders, finance ministers, and central bank governors who represent the world's major economies. President Obama addressed a press conference there today amidst criticism of U.S. monetary policy. Obama says he's hopeful that the G20 can help resolve international trade imbalances.

The Seoul meeting of G20 leaders kicked off Thursday after heated efforts by deputies to find a middle ground to correct growing global trade imbalances.

At the fifth G20 gathering since the global financial crisis, President Barack Obama responded to criticism that the nation is deliberately weakening its dollar, saying a strong U.S. economy was vital to the global recovery.

Obama, in a joint news conference with South Korean President Lee President Lee Myung-bak, added that the Seoul summit would deliver broad-based and balanced global growth.

[Barack Obama, U.S. President]:
"I think you will see at this summit a broad-based agreement from all countries, including Germany, that we need to ensure balanced and sustainable growth. And it is my expectation that the communiqué will begin to put in place mechanisms that help us track and encourage such balanced and sustainable growth."

Despite their hopes for G20 progress, the U.S. and South Korea failed to reach an agreement on a stalled free trade deal.

Overall, the G20 looked to forge a pact that the divided group of wealthiest countries could sign off on, but conditions in member economies varied starkly.

Some nations such as China and Brazil have already roared back to pre-crisis growth, while others such as the U.S. and Japan are trying to keep fledging recoveries going.

Critics of U.S. policy say it is using a weaker currency to try to boost growth, while setting targets for current account trade balances would be impractical.

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