Harper: Growth cannot hinge solely on U.S. consumer

Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:57pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global growth can no longer hinge solely on the U.S. consumer and a global economic recovery remains fragile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told CNBC television on Tuesday.

"We cannot hinge future world growth simply on an overextended American consumer. That is not a wise strategy and that is certainly not the strategy of the government of Canada," Harper said.

While the economy is showing some signs of recovery, the recovery remains fragile, with much of it based on government financial stimulus, he said.

"We are certainly seeing the beginnings of some growth in Canada, but I wouldn't underestimate either in Canada or the United States or globally how much of this recovery is due to stimulus measures," Harper said. He added that "we haven't yet seen a real rebound in private investment that will sustain the economy globally."

Harper said debtor countries will eventually have to move to unwind those fiscal stimulus measures.

"At some point those countries, particularly those countries that are highly indebted or have engaged in expansionist monetary policies, are going to have to start to find ways to ease out of that," he said.

The Canadian Prime Minister said countries around the world also have to take steps to resist protectionism.

"If we want to see the recession last for a very long time, then let's slip away from open markets, that will do it in a flash -- open markets are good for our economy and the global economy in the long term."

(Reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Dan Grebler)

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks to the media outside City Hall after meeting with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York September 22, 2009. REUTERS/Patrick Andrade</p>