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Obama Says G20 Leaders Headed For 'Broad-based' Agreement

President Barack Obama and South Korea President Lee Myung-bak hold a joint news conference at Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, 11 Nov 2010

President Barack Obama says leaders of the G20 nations are headed for what he calls a broad-based agreement aimed at balanced and sustainable growth that will build upon agreements from earlier summits.

During his news conference Thursday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, President Obama said a final communique expected from the G20 should reflect a consensus on where nations need to go to sustain growth and continue recovery from the financial crisis.

"You will see at this summit a broad-based agreement from all countries including Germany that we need to assure balanced and sustainable growth. Expectation that communique will begin to put in place mechanisms that help us track and encourage such balanced and sustainable growth," he said.

Mr. Obama said the most important thing the United States, the world's largest market, can do for the global economy is to grow. But he said this will be more difficult if nations allow huge trade imbalances that helped contribute to the financial crisis re-develop.

The president acknowledged criticism of U.S. monetary policy from some G20 members, such as Germany, in the run up to the summit.

Saying Germany will be part of the final consensus statement, Mr. Obama said disagreements will not stand in the way of the overall objective.

"There may be at any given moment disagreements between countries in terms of particular strategies, but that is not surprising because each country has unique problems and finds itself in different positions. Countries like Germany historically are very sensitive to issues like inflation, but I don't think you will get any objection to their belief that if U.S. isn't growing that is not good for the rest of the world," he said.

The president also reiterated U.S. concern about countries that he says engage in currency practices aimed at boosting their exports at the expense of others.

He spoke before going into a bilateral meeting with President Hu Jintao of China, which has been the focus of criticism by the U.S. and other G-20 members because it has kept the value of its currency the yuan low to boost exports.

Leaders of the Group of 20 largest economies begin meeting later Thursday. The summit ends Friday.

Mr. Obama declined to comment on specific recommendations by an independent fiscal commission he formed on sharp spending reductions to bring down the U. S deficit and debt. The recommendations were released Thursday.

Mr. Obama said he is fully prepared to make tough decisions as long as he receives cooperation from the U.S. Congress. The full report will be released on December 1st.

"If we are concerned about debt and deficits then we are going to have to take actions that are difficult and we are going to have to tell the truth to the American people," he said.

Mr. Obama said making those touch choices will require help from Democrats and Republicans, who in the recent mid-term congressional elections seized control of the U.S. House of Representatives.