WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- Group of Seven finance ministers concluded their two-day meeting Saturday in Washington saying improving economic growth was their priority.
"The outlook continues to be favorable for 2005, despite the unwelcome news of oil prices, and we all agreed that improving growth must be our top priority," said U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow.
U.S. real GDP rose 4.4 percent in 2004 on an average annual basis, the largest in five years and job growth has been revitalized, with the economy creating 3.1 million new jobs since the employment trough of May 2003 and inflation remains moderate, according to Snow.
The G-7 finance ministers and central bankers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan pressured U.S. officials to scale down its fiscal deficit.
"The U.S. is strongly committed to reducing the budget deficit -- we recognize that this is vital for continued robust growth for the U.S. economy as well as for the international financial system," said Snow.
"The administration expects a deficit of $427 billion this fiscal year and at 3.5 percent of GDP, substantially lower than the 4.5 percent to 6 percent experienced in the 1980s and 1990s, but still too large -- we expect to cut the deficit in half to well under 2 percent of GDP by 2009."