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Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 23:14 GMT
Bush 'optimistic' on US prospects
President-elect George W Bush wraps up his two day economic forum
Mr Bush met high-tech business leaders for the meeting
By Rob Watson in Washington

President-elect George W Bush has pronounced himself optimistic about America's long-term prosperity.

His comments are a departure from weeks of talking the economy down, and follow a two-day economic summit in Texas with some of the country's leading businessmen.

Flanked by some of America's most influential business leaders Mr Bush said after the meeting that he, and they, were genuinely optimistic about the future despite some short-term concerns.

To address those concerns, Mr Bush said the meeting dealt with the need to recruit people from around the world to help meet the employment requirements of the US high tech firms.

Tax cut plugged

The move is good news for those seeking visas to work in the country and the thousands already working in the US high tech sector.

The president-elect also plugged his planned $1.3 trillion dollar tax cut.

Mr Bush said the drop in interest rates on Wednesday had altered the situation, and suggested there might be a case for reducing taxes even sooner than originally intended.

The recent slowing of the US economy has made some Democrats more sympathetic to the idea of tax cuts while others in the party argue, reducing interest rates is fairer and more effective.

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