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Good afternoon. It was a pleasure to meet again with my G-7 colleagues for a frank and useful discussion of the world economy and each of our own economies. We agreed that we must continue to bolster economic growth in our economies, for the good of our own citizens and the people of the world. For our part, the United States has put the worst part of the economic slowdown behind us. We see more signs every day indicating that a recovery is underway and I believe we will return to prosperous real economic growth rates of 3 to 3.5 percent, as soon as the fourth quarter of this year.
Working together, the G-7 nations have made progress in combating the financing of terrorism. I took the opportunity to once again thank my colleagues for their support. To date, 149 countries and jurisdictions, including the G-7, have issued orders to freeze terrorist assets, and we have blocked over $104 million since September 11.
At today's meeting, we agreed to do more. In our Action Plan we committed to develop a mechanism to block the assets of terrorists simultaneously in all our countries. This will require even closer cooperation, both to share intelligence and protect sensitive information. We should spare no effort in making the world's financial system off limits to terrorist fundraising activities.
In bilateral meetings and in a group session I raised the President's grants proposal and the need to improve the effectiveness of development assistance. I urged my colleagues to expand the portion of aid provided as grants, especially to the lowest income nations where an additional debt burden cannot be serviced. I am confident that the outstanding issues on the 13th replenishment of the International Development Association will be resolved in a timely manner.
On crisis resolution, I am pleased that my colleagues are eager to play a leading role in improving the framework to prevent and resolve financial crises. A market-based predictable process for sovereign debt restructuring would be a helpful contribution to the orderly functioning of the world financial markets.
I want to thank Paul Martin for hosting these meetings. In my discussions with Minister Martin, we reaffirmed our joint commitment to finding innovative means to improve both the security and efficiency of border crossings so vital to the free flow of trade between Canada and the United States. We will continue to work toward greater information exchange to create a seamless border process.
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