- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2001

GENOA, Italy — President Bush yesterday promoted his tax-cutting, free-market policies as the means to economic growth and the reduction of world poverty at a Group of Eight summit, where violent anti-capitalist protests claimed the life of a demonstrator.
"The United States is leading the way with dynamic and flexible markets, and decisive action, including pro-growth policies and tax cuts," the Bush administration said in its commentary on yesterday's communique by leaders of the major industrial nations.
"An open, growing global economy is the ultimate poverty reduction strategy," the White House said. Helping the developing world share in free-trade's benefits "is a great moral challenge — and a priority of U.S. foreign policy."
The president and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan issued a joint statement yesterday acknowledging that "the global economy has slowed more than expected," but confidently declaring that the nations had responded with "sound economic policies and fundamentals [to] provide a solid foundation for stronger growth."
The U.S. statement hailed the leaders' agreement to support a new round of world trade talks under the World Trade Organization, a group hated by many of the rioters in Genoa.
The administration also trumpeted the introduction of a $1.2 billion global fund to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, pointing to its origins in Mr. Bush's May announcement that Washington would provide $200 million in seed money for the initiative.
Although the death of one protester and injuries to scores of other demonstrators and police officers upstaged the opening talks of the world's seven largest economies and Russia, the White House signaled it would not be deterred from its objectives at the summit.
"We had a lot of important work to do today. And we forged ahead with that work and focused on that work," a senior administration official said.
The violence came after Mr. Bush issued earlier in the day a warning to the demonstrators.
"There are those who will try to disrupt the meetings, claiming they represent the poor," the president told reporters as he prepared to leave England for Italy. "To those folks I say: Instead of addressing policies that represent the poor, you embrace policies that lock people into poverty — and that's unacceptable to the United States.
"Trade has been the best avenue for economic growth for all countries," Mr. Bush added. "I reject the isolationism and protectionism that dominates those who will try to disrupt the meetings in Genoa."
The mayhem underscored the growing problem of protests at international summits and prompted some leaders to begin rethinking the wisdom of such get-togethers, as they acknowleded that it was becoming harder to find willing hosts.
There was talk yesterday of holding future summits in smaller cities so that security forces could control crowds more effectively.
Before leaving England, Mr. Bush tried to allay fears about a slumping global economy by sounding an optimistic note about the future economic health of America, which influences markets worldwide.
"It really begins with each of our own countries making sure our economic houses are in order," the president said. "I will share with my fellow leaders the fact that we shepherded through a major reduction in income taxes in America, so that the working people have got more money in their pockets to spend on their needs."
Efforts to alleviate poverty were to retain the summit's spotlight today, while Mr. Bush also was to have bilateral meetings with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
This article was based in part on wire-service reports.

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