Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says Americans have reaped significant benefits from the international architecture put in place after World War II and the United States would be making a serious mistake to retreat from its global leadership role.

In a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Lew sought to counter arguments being advanced by Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates that Americans are losing badly in competition with China and other countries in the global economy.

Lew said that the United States needed to embrace new players on the global economic stage and make sure they meet the standards of the trading system that the United States help create. He said that the "worst possible outcome would be to step away from our leadership role."