Secretary Statements & Remarks

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Press Conference Ahead of Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Marrakech, Morocco

As Prepared for Delivery

Hello everyone. Thank you to all of you for joining today, and to the Government of Morocco, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund for hosting the meetings. I’ve seen firsthand the impressive progress that Morocco is making to recover from the devastating impact of last month’s earthquake. The decision to proceed in Marrakech is a testament to the resilience of the Moroccan people. The United States is committed to supporting the Government of Morocco’s recovery efforts as Morocco works to provide immediate life-saving humanitarian assistance to those in need. These are also the first Annual Meetings in Africa in 50 years. It’s fitting we’re here, since Africa will shape the future of the global economy. Before highlighting priorities for this week, I want to also address the horrific attack by Hamas terrorists from Gaza this past Saturday. The United States condemns the attack in the strongest possible terms and stands resolutely with the people of Israel.

Turning to our priorities here in Marrakech, I’ll start with the global macroeconomy. I’m very glad that some of the pessimism expressed when we met last year remains unwarranted. The global economy continues to be in a better place than many thought it might be. Projections for global growth are roughly the same as in July, and the IMF expects global inflation to continue to fall. And while some countries continue to experience slowing growth, we do not see signs of broad spillovers destabilizing the global economy. But we of course continue to closely monitor downside risks to the economic outlook.

In the United States, we’ve had a historically strong recovery, driven by the Biden Administration’s economic plan. Unemployment is now at 3.8 percent and inflation has declined considerably. We’re also making long-term investments. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act are building America’s economic strength. And the impact will be felt far beyond the United States. As one example, the Inflation Reduction Act’s massive investments in clean energy will help address the global challenge of climate change, which is rightly high on the agenda this week.

As we navigate risks to the global macroeconomy, we see Russia’s war against Ukraine as a major headwind and an affront to our values and to international law and the principle of territorial integrity. The Biden Administration is committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes. Our actions matter for the Ukrainian people, for our own national security interests, and for the values we share with our allies and partners. And we are sharing the burden with these allies and partners, who have provided Ukraine with robust economic assistance and are similarly focused on ensuring accountability. Ukraine’s IMF program is also key to both delivering macroeconomic stability and advancing reforms.

Looking ahead, I want to be clear that we cannot allow our support to Ukraine to be interrupted. Our allies and the Ukrainian people can rest assured that the Biden Administration – with the support of a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress and the American people – will work so that Ukraine receives the assistance it needs to win this war.

We also continue to work to mitigate the other impacts of the war, including on food security, especially since Russia’s cruel withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. And we remain focused on working with a global coalition to deprive Russia of the funding it needs to wage this unjust war. We’ve put in place a novel price cap policy, which has significantly reduced Russian revenue over the last 10 months while promoting stable energy markets. Global energy prices have been largely unchanged while Russia has had to either sell oil at a significant discount or spend huge amounts on its alternative ecosystem. I also support harnessing windfall proceeds from Russian sovereign assets immobilized in particular clearinghouses and using the funds to support Ukraine. Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has caused untold human suffering and economic damage. We must continue to impose severe and increasing costs on Russia and continue efforts to ensure Russia pays for the damage it has caused.

Our focus on the global macroeconomy and on addressing global challenges, including through the international financial system, also continues to shape our approach toward our relationship with China. As we protect our national security interests, we seek a healthy economic relationship that benefits both sides and cooperation on debt restructuring and global challenges like climate change. Following my visit to China this summer, we announced Economic and Financial Working Groups, a further significant step in continuing to deepen our communication. I look forward to meeting with People’s Bank of China Governor Pan Gongsheng to discuss macroeconomic and financial issues while in Marrakech this week, including how Treasury and the PBOC take forward the Financial Working Group.

Throughout the week, we will also be focused on advancing our work to evolve the multilateral development banks. These Annual Meetings mark the one-year anniversary of my call to evolve the MDBs. We have accomplished a tremendous amount in just one year, including forming a broad coalition to take the evolution agenda forward. But there’s much more to be done, and we need to keep the momentum going in conversations this week and when we return home. Notably, our evolution agenda doesn’t stop at the World Bank: It extends to the regional development banks and to how the MDBs work as a system.

Turning to our efforts to strengthen the IMF, we are seeking to reach consensus on an equiproportional increase in quota resources to put the IMF’s finances on sound footing and keep it at the center of the global financial safety net. We’re also exploring ways to give more voice to developing countries through changes in the management and Board structure of the Fund. Finally, our focus on the international financial system also includes pushing for changes to make the debt architecture work better and faster, which is crucial for development and financial stability.

Thank you again for attending today. I look forward to a productive week ahead.