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Geithner: Business should back development banks

Treasury Secretary Geithner addresses members of media about President Obama's jobs bill during a tour of UPS' World Port air hub in Louisvi
Treasury Secretary Geithner addresses members of media about President Obama's jobs bill during a tour of UPS' World Port air hub in Louisvi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. businesses should support the role of multilateral development banks in trying to bolster global growth because their efforts help boost export markets, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday.

With the global economy still under pressure, including from Europe's debt crisis, development banks can help by boosting growth in emerging markets, Geithner suggested in remarks prepared for delivery at a closed-door event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby group, .

Treasury made a copy of Geithner's remarks available after the event.

"If the emerging markets and developing nations grow, we can export more. We can hire more workers," Geithner said, alluding to the development banks' primary purpose.

Multilateral development banks typically refers to the World Bank Group and four regional banks: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. and the Inter-American Development Bank Group.

Geithner said U.S. investment in the banks, and their subsequent support in emerging markets, was an important element in restarting growth for U.S. exports after the 2007-09 financial crisis.

U.S. funding for the global lenders is under threat from Congressional Republicans who want to cut budget deficits.

The Obama administration has requested $3.3 billion for multilateral development banks during the 2012 fiscal year.

Funding for the banks is certain to be reviewed by a bipartisan congressional panel charged this autumn with finding $1.5 trillion in budget savings over the next decade.

Amid pressure to reduce budgets and to focus spending on improving U.S. domestic employment, capital requests by international financial institutions face a difficult political environment.

(Reporting by Glenn Somerville, Editing by Leslie Adler)

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