WASHINGTON — President Bush has invited the leaders of 20 nations to come to Washington on Nov. 15 for an international summit meeting on the economy, the White House said Wednesday. The move could eventually lead to a far-reaching overhaul of the rules governing global financial markets.
The summit meeting, intended to be the first of several global economic meetings, will come less than two weeks after the presidential election, and its timing underscores the urgency the administration feels in addressing the financial crisis. The White House has said Mr. Bush would “welcome input” from the president-elect, although it is unclear if Mr. Bush’s successor would attend.
The meeting will have a broad agenda, laying the groundwork for the leaders to “agree on a common set of principles for reform of the regulatory and institutional regimes for the world’s financial sectors,” Dana Perino, Mr. Bush’s press secretary, said in announcing the meeting.
Mr. Bush has been under intense pressure for several weeks from leaders in Europe, especially President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, to convene an international meeting of economic powers to address the financial crisis. Mr. Sarkozy has called for strengthening and rewriting the rules governing global financial institutions, fashioned after the 1944 meeting in Bretton Woods, N.H., in which 44 nations remade the global financial system after the Great Depression.
But the White House initially sounded skeptical of the idea; administration officials have said Mr. Bush is wary of any attempt to allow other nations to exercise control over the United States banking system. Over the weekend, though, Mr. Bush, Mr. Sarkozy and the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, had dinner at Camp David and apparently brokered an agreement.
While Mr. Sarkozy had been pressing for a meeting of the so-called Group of Eight world economic powers, Mr. Bush insisted that developing nations be included. After their dinner on Saturday night, the three men issued a joint statement saying they would reach out to world leaders with the intent of convening a series of economic meetings.
The venue also appears to have been an issue. Mr. Sarkozy said over the weekend that he hoped the first meeting would be held by the end of November, and suggested it be convened in New York. “Since the crisis started in New York, maybe we can find the solution in New York,” he said. “This is a worldwide crisis, and therefore we must find a worldwide solution.”
By convening the meeting in Washington, his home turf, and by insisting that leaders from developing as well as developed nations attend, Mr. Bush appeared to be putting himself firmly in charge.
White House officials have said that the president is especially concerned that an attempt to rewrite global financial rules could hurt capitalism and free trade; in her statement, Ms. Perino said the summit agenda would include “an opportunity for leaders to strengthen the underpinnings of capitalism by discussing how they can enhance their commitment to open, competitive economies, as well as trade and investment liberalization.”
The White House drew the list of summit invitees from the so-called G20, a forum of rich and emerging nations that was convened in 1999 after an earlier international crisis. Its members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.
Other international officials, including the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the president of the World Bank, and the United Nations Secretary-General have also been invited to attend, the White House said.